Been & Going

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] More Funny Pics Around New York

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Jersey Joe has another set of hilarious photos and scenes that you can only find around New York City.

THE 411

What: funny photos, pictures, and scenes found around New York City

Collected by: Jersey Joe


New York City is a great place to work and even a better place to play.  Whether you’re local or just visiting on a trip – take a look around.  You’ll always find a funny and entertaining scene!

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] What Are Those Lines on a Solo Cup?

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What do those lines on plastic Solo cups mean? Are they for measuring alcohol, measuring cooking ingredients, or just a design? Jersey Joe checks out why these cups have become so popular.

Solo cups were first introduced in 1936 in a paper version.  The company was sold to the Dart Corporation and now sells more than $2.4 billion annually.  What’s your favorite color, red or blue?  Red is the clear selling winner!

THE 411

Name: Solo Cups

What: disposable plastic drinking glasses for parties and picnics

First sold: 1936



I always have a supply of these around.  You never know when you will need them for an instant party!

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Brushing Teeth with Chocolate

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Would you brush your teeth with chocolate?  Well, Crest has a whole new “Be Adventurous” line of toothpaste.  Now, you can brush your teeth with awesome dessert flavors like chocolate or vanilla and more!  Jersey Joe puts it to the test and gets your reaction as well!


THE 411

What: chocolate mint toothpaste

Brand: Crest

Campaign Be Adventerous

Released: 2014

Sold: stores coast to coast


I have to admit – the taste was pretty good.  If you’ve ever had one of those Andy Candies chocolate after dinner mints – you’ve got the flavor here.

It didn’t seem to lather up as much as other toothpastes do, but my teeth still felt clean and refreshed.  However, I didn’t have that total minty fresh breath feeling that you get with regular toothpastes.

I applaud Crest for trying these crazy flavors and hope that they come out with more.  They could try cherry or orange toothpaste as well.

These unique flavors will make it easier for kids to try brushing and also act as a treat for adults.

I always like having that minty fresh breath aftertaste with most toothpastes, but you really don’t get that here.  This is almost all about the flavor and nothing more… but is definitely worth a try!

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] The Great Ketchup Challenge: Could You Tell the Difference?

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Heinz, Hunts, or generic?  We all use ketchup, but in a blind taste test can you tell the difference?  I assembled a panel of 9 friends and co-workers and put them to the test.


Ketchup or catsup is a delicious red sauce made primarily of tomatoes, vinegar, and sugar.  Generally used as a condiment for hot foods such as French fries and hamburgers, it can also be used as an ingredient to add additional flavor when cooking.

ketchup taste test 1

The first form of ketchup (I’m not calling it catsup) was originally made in 17th century China, where it was a brine for pickled fish.  The sauce was discovered by English explorers a century later and then made it to the new colonies in the United States.  The Chinese pronounced it kay-chap, but when the English got a hold of the sauce, it was changed to our common word, ketchup.


While there are many variations on the recipe, the American tomato version was first created and published by Sandy Addison in 1801.  The English version used at that time contained anchovies!


As the 19th century went on, the popularity of ketchup skyrocketed.  Being made and sold by local farmers, Americans could eat the sauce without having to worry about the shelf life of tomatoes.


In 1876, the Heinz foods corporation was the first to launch a mass produced ketchup to stores and advertised it as “Blessed relief for mother and other women in the household.”  Years later, after concerns over sodium benzoate, Heinz changed the recipe to remove the controversial preservative.  Ketchup now has an additive, usually xanthan gum, which gives it a thinning property.  The harder you slap or shake the bottle, the more liquidity it will become, allowing it to be removed easily.  Once it is no longer in motion, the ketchup will return to a more solid, thicker state.

ketchup packets

Heinz ketchup main rival in the United States in Hunts.  Hunts started out as the Hunts Bros. Fruit Packing Company of Sebastopol, California in 1888.  It wasn’t until the 1930’s after a company takeover they decided to focus on canned tomato products and prepared tomato sauce.


As with most common household products, most stores have their own private label generic brand products.  For this taste test, I went with Shop-Rite brand generic ketchup, but the store name was not disclosed until after I finished the test.

ketchup taste test 2

I placed a small serving of each in secretly labeled clear plastic cups and then gave one cup each to my panelists.  7 of them tried the ketchup with standard French fries, 1 with sweet potato fries, and 1 ate some off a knife because we ran out of fries.


I asked three simple questions:


  1. Pick your favorite
  2. Tell me which is Heinz, Hunts, and the generic brand
  3. What brand do you usually buy?


They each first picked their favorite.  The brand was not disclosed at this point, but here’s what they chose:

favorite ketchup



Heinz                            3

Hunts                           3

Generic                        3


It was split right down the middle.  Not even the lottery has these kinds of odds!


“I was really stuck between Hunts and generic,” said Mike from Jersey City, New Jersey.


But, when I asked them what brand they usually buy:

 brand usually purchased



Heinz                                   5                      2 incorrect

Hunts                                  0                      2 incorrect

Generic                               3                      1 incorrect

Doesn’t buy ketchup     1


Three of the panelists missed identifying their favorite brand in the blind test.  One Heinz buyer picked generic and one picked Hunts.  One generic buyer picked Heinz as their favorite.  One Hunts buyer picked generic, while the other picked Heinz.  The third Hunts panelist said he usually doesn’t buy ketchup.


That means that 33% of those taking the taste test could not identify their favorite brand.


“Heinz is the gold standard in ketchup,” said Max from Cranford, New Jersey.


When asked to name which brand was which, based on flavor, here’s how many out of the 9 panelists got the brand correct:

correctly identified



Heinz                            5

Hunts                           4

Generic                        5


More than half of the panelists correctly picked both Heinz and the generic brands.  3 panelists got zero correct, while 4 guessed all three correctly.


Many of the comments they made stated that Heinz has a distinct flavor and texture.


My ketchup taste test underway.

The ketchup taste test underway.

“You can tell one is sweeter and one is saltier,” said Jeremy from Bayonne, New Jersey.


“The generic is watered down,” said Michael from Los Angeles, California.


Our test can conclude that the generic brand is pretty darn close to as good as Heinz, the most indefinable product.  When I did the test, I felt that the generic had a very strong flavor and I was surprised when I mixed it up with Hunts in my blind taste test.  I always buy Heinz and was able to easily identify that.  But, the generic really did have a strong flavor and I did like the taste of all three brands.


But, when you look at the ketchup aisle in the store it can be a bit overwhelming.  While there may be only a few select brands to choose from, there are dozens of different varieties.


On some bottles ketchup is labeled as “fancy,” meaning it contains a higher amount of tomatoes and solid concentration, beating FDA standards.


In the Philippines, ketchup is actually made from bananas and has been since World War II, when there was a shortage of tomatoes.  To compete with tomato ketchup, it is dyed red.


The number 57 on a Heinz bottle means nothing.  Founder Henry Heinz simply thought the number was lucky.  There are more than 60 Heinz products on store shelves.

ketchup taste test 3

Should you refrigerate ketchup?  An open bottle will last one month in the cupboard, but an open bottle in the refrigerator will last up to six months.


Most ketchup sold in stores contains a large amount of sugar.  Something may people forget when they are on a sugar restrictive diet.

 ketchup taste test 4

For quick comparison, according to the bottle, 1 tablespoon of ketchup from each the three tested brands contains:




Heinz                                  20

Hunts                                 25

Shop Rite generic         15




Heinz                                  0g

Hunts                                 0g

Shop Rite generic         0g




Heinz                                  4g

Hunts                                 4g

Shop Rite generic         4g

ketchup taste test 5

THE 411


Name: ketchup or catsup


What: tomato based condiment popular in the United States


First recipe in US: 1801


First sold commercially in US: 1876




It’s Heinz all the way for me and I was easily able to identify it during my blind taste test.  (Yes, I admit I got the other two confused…)


However, you may want to try this test yourself and see if you are purchasing what you and your family really like.  You could even collect some sample packets that are given away at restaurants and see which you like best.


Image credit – David Copeland

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Put Your Shopping Carts Back

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After you’ve walked up and down the aisles of your local store, stood in line at the checkout, and the finally make it back to your car… do you ever return your shopping cart to a cart return, or back inside the store?  Meet the baby that does!



Baby Esme Poglein sure knows how to return the shopping cart, right?  This video was given to me by the Poglein family to share.


shoppingcart1One of the earliest designs for a shopping cart was created by Sylvan Goldman, the owner of the Piggly Wiggly supermarket chain in 1937.  He was looking for a way to entice shoppers to buy more groceries and got inspiration from a folding chair in his office.  After tinkering with his design, he was issued a patent from the federal government for his invention in 1940.


Shopping carts were not popular when they were first introduced.  Men found them effeminate and women found them similar to pushing baby carriages.  Goldman had to hire men and women models to demonstrate and greeters to push for their use.  Americans quickly fell in love with the carts.


In 1946, American inventor Orla Watson came up with a way to nest the carts together for easy storage that we use today.  After scoring a patent of his own, Goldman was forced to pay Watson $1, after filing a patent for a redesign that was too similar to Watson’s.  Goldman also worked out a licensing right to allow for the modifications of his design and the mass production of modern shopping carts was on!


While most stores in the United States, offer cart return facilities in the parking lot, many customers choose just to abandon theirs right where they park, and leave.  While this is not illegal, it can lead to accidental dents and scratches to cars, when a driver accidentally hits or brushes up against one.


In Canada and Europe, to encourage customers to return carts to the store, they must place a coin deposit to remove one and get their coin back when the cart is properly return.  Most Aldi supermarket store locations in the US as well as a few Costco warehouse stores, use this system.  In Australia, it’s the law.


Later shopping cart designs feature a small basket toward the rear that can be used to store small items, or for mothers to place small children where they can be supervised while shopping.  However, 24,000 children are injured by carts each year.  To improve child safely, many stores now offer special “kid carts” where the child can be placed in a special set under the cart that is lower to the ground.


In the past few years, Sears department stores have introduced shopping carts and check out lines for customers, which the company says has led to an increase in sales.


An abandoned shopping cart.

An abandoned shopping cart.

While shopping cart designs haven’t changed much in the last 50 years, Target stores have introduced a completely plastic cart, that not only makes it easier for the store to repair and replace parts, but it also won them multiple design awards for innovation.


Depending on where you are, shopping carts can be called a shopping trolley, shopping carriage, wagon, lunga, barrae, or shopping buggy.


A typical cart costs a store $75 – $400, depending on the model.  Remember that, the next time you see one abandoned along the road!


THE 411


Name: shopping carts


What: carts designed to allow shoppers to carry large quantities of goods around the store and to their cars


Introduced: 1937



It drives me nuts seeing tons of abandoned shopping carts littering store parking lots.  My vehicle has been hit and scratched by them again and again.  Stores provide cart returns for a reason.  Be polite to your fellow shoppers and use them!  If Baby Esme can return her cart, I think we all can, too!


Image credits – Sharon Drummond, malavoda, Chris Orbz, Lis Bokt