Been & Going

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] McDonald’s Triple Cheeseburger Trap

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Jersey Joe exposes how McDonald’s is ripping you off with their Triple Cheeseburger promotion and shows you how to get more food for the same price.

THE 411

Name: McDonald’s Triple Cheeseburger

What: 3 patty hamburger sold at the fast food restaurant chain in the United States

Cost: $2.50 (current advertised special)


Keep a lookout for sneaky menu prices like this.  Many restaurants do this to add your money to their bottom line.  But, by being a smart shopper and doing a little research can help you find a better deal!


[California Seething] The Very Best Part of a Very Crappy Year

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Look, who are we kidding? 2016 is a horrible fucking year to be an American. OK, well, to be more precise, it’s a horrible fucking year to be ANYONE. Seriously, 2016- what the fuck? One minute you’re cute little baby new year, the next you’re a moustache twirling black-clad villain tying our hopes and dreams down to the tracks so they can be run over by the freight train of despair. Fuck you, 2016. You want to know how we feel about you? Just take a look at this:


And, while every county in the world has experienced it’s own brand of crappiness- in the US we’ve had to endure the sickening dread brought on by this god-awful presidential election. I was really struck by this a couple of weeks ago when the fires from the Santa Clarita valley were raging out of control. There I was- going about my business, running errands while the sky was darkened with smoke and lit with an eerie orange glow from the flames and I thought- yup, that’s being an American in 2016- trying like everything’s normal while a toxic orange cloud hangs over our heads.Cal Seething- 082116- trump

Now, he may be a Crypto-Fascist Oompa Loompa (“what do you get when illegals come in/killing and raping and dealing in sin/let’s build a wall and let’s make it real tall/and Mexico will pay for it a-a-all/Oh yeah, you’d better bet they will/ Truma lumpa drumphidie drumph/do lies sound like truth when you shout them enough?/Tumpa drumpha and Mike Pensey, too/ Jesus would never vote for you-oo-oo/he’d so be a Bernie guy”) but he certainly does have the crowds eating out of the palms of his tiny hands. And oh, what, fun they seem to be having! Frothing at the mouth, screaming “Mexico”, taking incomprehensible loyalty oaths, shouting down protestors- why is it any wonder that leftists decided to create a crazy pants movement of their own?

And so, Bernie or Bust was born! Now, for those that don’t know, the Bernie or Bust movement consists of Bernie Sanders’ most passionate and devoted followers- followers so loyal that they will do absolutely anything Bernie tells them to, except, vote for Hillary which is literally the only thing he’s telling them to do. These folks don’t care if they Nader the election and allow the most progressive Democratic platform in 50 years to be defeated by a hate mongering lunatic- they’re having too much fun! Complaining about how no one listens to them at the DNC while booing Cal Seething- 082116- throwmoneyElizabeth Warren so no one can listen to her, sharing links from Fox News about Hillary’s email, throwing money at cars as they drive to a Democratic fundraiser at George Clooney’s house- cause nothing says “I deserve higher wages and debt relief” like throwing your fucking money in the streets.

And now there are some Bernie Busters who insist their gonna vote Third Party- cause that just went so well  in 2000! Thanks, guys! How did you ever get so much student loan debt and stay so fucking dumb?

So- yeah- 2016 has been a terrible, horrible no good year, but that’s OK because the Olympics are here and the Olympics make everything better! That’s right- the Olympics- that magical event that occurs once every four years when the world comes together to Cal Seething-082116-lafingercelebrate peace and brotherhood by kicking poor people out of their homes to build wasteful sports venues nobody needs. Which, again, is why LA would make the perfect host city- hell, we threw our poor people out of their homes to build wasteful sports venues YEARS ago. And if we need to build more- no problem- just say the word and the Boyle Heights Equestrian Center is DONE. And the Athlete’s Village- well shit, we can just give them any under occupied mixed use luxury mega complex in Downtown LA with more gastropubs than parking spots. I mean, no one can afford to live there- might as well give ito the Serbian handball team.

Still- I love the Olympics. It’s the only time I get to feel good about feeling good about being an American. Because most days, I just feel smug about how bad I feel about being an American (like when we’re bombing someone) or guilty about how Cal-Seething--082116--unclesecretly psyched I am to be an American (like when it’s not us getting bombed). But during the Olympics I’m as unabashedly happy to be an American as a NASCAR fan in Florida eating Chick-Fil-A and blasting Kenny Chesney in his F-150 on the way to the gun show before hitting the Trump rally and getting dinner at Golden Corral (but only cause it’s Jeff Foxworthy’s favorite) then pounding down an ice cold can of Belgian made America beer. And that’s because the Olympics is the only time America can beat the living shit out of other nations and nobody dies or joins ISIS. Hell, the only consequence of American victory is that we get to pose on a podium looking fierce in shiny new jewelry and mouthing the words to a familiar song. It’s how wars would be won if Ru Paul ran the world! Say what you will about the Iraq War- we all agree that the Middle East would be safer if Sadaam had been deposed using balance beam and floor exercise scores. Cause if point deductions could kill, they probably will in games without frontiers, war without tears.

Anyhow, the US has been kicking ass at the Olympics and all the other countries are swimming pool green with envy. But even when the Americans aren’t demolishing much poorer nations, the Olympics are pretty great. Because the Olympics aren’t just a sporting event- they’re a two week orgy of non-stop Inspiration Porn. Just look at how fucking inspiring everything is! The historic accomplishments of Biles, Ledeckey and Phelps (BOOM! Named the women first. How ya like me now, Jezebel? (they don’t)); Simone Manuel shattering expectations and boundaries; Fiji winning their first medal- a gold in their beloved national sport of Rugby which was last played at the Olympics almost 50 years before Fiji’s independence.

And then there are the profound moments of inspiration which transcend competition- the Refugee Team marching proudly into the Cal Seething- 082116- selfieOpening Ceremonies, the South Korean & North Korean gymnast sharing a care free selfie, showing the world how easy it can be sometimes to do the impossible.  Yes, it seems the Olympics are a time when political differences are put aside and everyone is treated with dignity and respect, except of course for the Israeli team which is snubbed and insulted by athletes from Arab nations at every event they go and no one on the IOC says boo about it. But, hey- anti-Semitism is the only prejudice that the left and right can agree on- so the Jews are just bringing the world together!

Of course, the problem with all this inspiring crap is that it makes us dumb. Wait- no- maybe “dumb” is too harsh a word- let’s go with “generous of spirit”…..which, you know, means “dumb”. You see, for advertisers, selling us products on TV is like feeding a restless toddler- so they see Olympic competition is like moving a spoon through the air saying “look at the diver. Look at the pretty diver flying through the air!!! Now open up the swimming pool, cause here comes the diver” and then, Bam! We open up our minds and they shove in a big spoonful of University of Phoenix messaging all pureed up with a Maya Angelou poem. Speaking of diving, if you’re wondering why the Olympic diving pool turned green, it’s cause one of Rio’s finest pool technicians (sadly I’m not being sarcastic- he really was one of the best) dumped 160 gallons of Hydrogen Peroxide in to the pool which neutralized the chlorine and caused algae to grow. And if you’re wondering who the hell needs that much Peroxide at the Olympics- well, maybe take that up with the Shelly Fraser Pryce. Go on. I dare you.

Cal Seething- 082116- shellyprice

Anyhow, for companies like Sea World, it makes sense to exploit the feel-good spirit of the Olympics to improve their brand image. Cause if you’re watching the Olympics with your family, and thinking about where to go on vacation, you’re much more likely to consider SeaWorld if it’s “America’s foremost marine mammal rescue center and theme park” as opposed to “Auschwitz for Orcas”.

Of course, McDonald’s was one of the pioneers of using the Olympics to boost their brand image. Sure they’re plugging the white meat nuggets and Apple Dippers now- but as soon as Michelle’s gone, it’s Big Mac time, baby- cause Bubba’s back!

Cal Seething- 082116- bill

So- sure, I get why some companies would advertise. Like Subway, which is still trying get out of Jared’s pants with their Cal Seething- 082116- subway#SearchforBackgroundChecks…I mean….#SearchforBetter campaign. But the real head scratchers are companies like Exxon which has spent millions of dollars on their “Energy Lives Here” campaign. These ads feature self-consciously diverse mix of their most bright-eyed, earnest and not-evil-at-all employees talking about all the humanitarian, beneficial and totally not-at-all-evil things they do like studying biodiversity or fighting Cal Seething- 082116- exxonmalaria…none of which makes a damn bit of difference to me when I’m deciding where to buy gas. After all, if I wanted to do what was best for the planet, I wouldn’t buy gas at all- but since I need it to feed my car’s addiction all I care about it who’s closest, who’s cheapest and who takes damn Ralph’s Rewards points. What they are doing to combat malaria never enters into it- it’s like choosing a meth dealer for his 401k plan. Come on, Exxon, you’re a scumbag oil company- just own it. Don’t get all needy and weird. It’s like JR Ewing standing outside my house playing In Your Eyes on a boombox- not a good look for you. You want my respect- keep it real. Show me bloated executives lighting $100 bills on fire after dipping them in gasoline and tag it with “Yeah, we’re Exxon. Fuck you gonna do about it?” Or, better yet, skip the advertising altogether and TAKE MY RALPH’S REWARDS POINTS.

And GE is advertising a lot, which is really confusing because I never thought of them as especially evil…but now I’m starting to wonder what they’ve done! I mean, sure, there were all those kids who got stuck in discarded fridges back in the day, but that was when kids used to play outside and Apple solved that problem. And yet, still GE keeps running commercials to try and convince millennials that GE is a cool place to get a job while millennials are like, “dude- you had me at ‘job’.”

Frankly, I’m surprised Monsanto isn’t running commercials. They could show scientists working hard in labs inter-cut with gauzy, sunrise footage of Cal Seething- 082116- tomatofarmers in fields, happy kids around the world eating disturbingly oversized vegetables, then kids running in fields and city squares, then teenagers running on high school tracks, and finally adults running at the Olympics while a slowed-down, female-sung, acoustic version of “Feed the World” plays and a craggy American voice says “Get More Olympians with G.M.O’s”. Huh. That’s really satire. I swear.

But the most hateful ads during the Olympics are for NBC’s own programming. Look, you may think that the most powerful person in America is the President or the Chief Justice- but really it’s the NBC executive who can sit in a room full Cal Seething- 082116- kristenof otherwise intelligent people at the top of their field and say “hey- you know what we need- a snarky sitcom about the afterlife with Ted Danson and Kirsten Bell- where she plays a dead person who’s kind of a bitch and Heaven is just like the Grove!” and in the very long moments of dead silence that follows, not a single person in the room says “Are you out of your goddamn mind??? That’s the WORST FUCKING IDEA I’ve ever heard.” Instead they are all like  “I smell a hit!”, “Everyone loves Danson!”, “we can cram it down everyone’s throat during the Olympics!” Yeah- cause that strategy worked out soooo well for The New Normal. Remember The New Normal? No? OF COURSE YOU DON’T. NOBODY DOES. The only reason I do is that NBC spent two weeks trying to cram that ill conceived shit pile down my throat during the LAST OLYMPICS.

Then again, maybe the truly powerful person in this scenario is not the executive who greenlit the show, but the Svengali like producer who pitched it. I can just hear the pitch in TV-speak: “It’s like Cheers meets Touched by an Angel in a Samsung commercial” delivered in a peppy upbeat tone as if it’s not the most Cal Seething- 082116- pmbhorrifying combination of three things that the human mind has conceived since Puppy-Monkey-Baby. Just think of someone with these powers of persuasion could accomplish: bringing peace to the Middle East, reunifying North & South Korea, getting Republicans in Congress to do their damn jobs. And all of that miraculous potential wasted making terrible TV shows and earning lots and lots of money. I am horrified and disgusted and very, very jealous.

The other big show NBC is pushing is This Is Us- which appears to be a drama about people born in 1980 all turning Cal Seething- 082116- thisisus36 and finding themselves at a cross roads in their lives. And that means that….yes….wait for it…..millennials now have their own version of thirtysomething. As if Prince & David Bowie dying wasn’t bad enough, now we’ve got this little nugget to ponder when contemplating our mortality at 4 AM. Thanks, NBC for making 2016 even more depressing. I’d consider killing myself, but I’m terrified I’ll wind up in a Kristen Bell / Ted Danson vehicle.

Anyhow- I’m not sure why I’m acting so shocked that NBC’s programming is terrible. What more can I expect when everyone involved with the network who’s not named Wier, Lipinski or Questlove is hot garbage (as the kids say) (the “kids” are in their 30’s) (goddamn it) pretty much all of the time.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the Olympics, NBC is the only game in town. Mind you- there are a lot of different channels showing the Olympics- there’s NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, NBC Sports…uhm…NBC Basketball, NBC Soccer, NBC Universo- all sorts of options we can choose from to give ourselves the illusion of choice- late capitalism at its finest!  And because they have us by the balls, NBC has an interesting relationship with their Olympic viewers- it’s not as much “entertainer” and “audience” or “business” and “valued customer” as it is “bank robber” and “hostage”. They know we’re not going anywhere, so they feed us just enough Olympic action to keep us docile while they collect their ransom money from advertisers. And then, just for fun, they sadistically torment us with human interest stories and the inane blather of Al Michaels, Mike Tirico and Ryan Seacrest- the Three Amigos of Announcing Awfulness. And I know some of you are saying- “Hey wait- I love Al Michaels” but that’s just the Stockholm Syndrome talking. Cal Seething- 082116- alcrisThe only way to love Al Michaels is the way Patty Hearst loved the SLA- just ask Cris Collinsworth, if they ever get him deprogrammed.

Of course, NBC executives would deny that they are deliberately torturing viewers and would insist that they are just giving viewers what they really want. And, if these executives actually believe that’s the case- well, I have even less respect for them than ever.

You see, NBC’s research team discovered that more women watch the Olympics than men- and NBC wasn’t really sure what to do with this information. So they turned it over to their cracker jack team of all male team executives who brilliantly deduced that women who watch the Olympics aren’t actually interested in “watching the Olympics”. No- what they’re really interested in is the human drama- who the athletes are, where they come from, how much their moms had to sacrifice for their success, the extent to which having babies has changed their perspective on sports (but only if they’re women, natch- boys don’t change when they have babies, silly), the vital role played by their husbands/fiances in their success (also- only if they’re women or Tom Daley). Female viewers don’t actually want to watch “sporting events”- no! For those gals, the Olympics is just one big reality show, like The Bachelor with medals or the Real Athletes of Rio, so it’s important to cram the broadcast as full as possible of human interest stories, interviews and extended shots of swimmers between events sitting in the ready room – cause there’s nothing more exciting than watching the best athletes in the world at the Cal Seething- 082116- readyroompeak of their abilities sitting in folding chairs listening to Coldplay- can’t you just feel the drama?? “She’s sitting in a chair….She’s glowering straight ahead…wait…yes… she might be….YES…she put on her earbuds! She’s listening to music!!! She’s listening to COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLD play.” And it doesn’t matter if they air events long after they end and the whole world knows the score. Everyone knows women don’t care about scores- why all those big scary numbers just boggle their scatterbrained little heads!


And what’s really impressive about these NBC executives is that they were able to gain such insight into the minds of female viewers without talking to any actual females. I’m not sure what, exactly, their stringent research protocol was to gain such a scientific understanding of the female mind- but I can only assume it had something to do with sitting in the parking lot of a gas n’ sip drinking beer on a Friday night saying “Bitches, man” (when asked why they didn’t consult any female viewers- they responded “by choice, man. Personal choice”.)Cal Seething- 082116- final5

Ironically, the real story of these games is that women- and particularly US women have been kicking huge amounts of ass which I’m sure NBC would notice if they weren’t so focused on their marriage proposals. I’m sure every young girl in America who watched the US Gymnastics team was totally inspired to follow her dreams and achieve greatness– that is, assuming her parents let her watch gymnastics at midnight- which a questionable timeslot for family inspirational togetherness viewing but a great one for lonely guys on the couch eating Pringles in their underwear and wondering when Beach Volleyball is coming on already.

Look, NBC- the Olympics don’t need you to make them great any more than American needs Tumpa-Lumpa. Trust me on this- I’ve been holed up in Palm Springs watching 12-14 hours of Olympic action each day subsisting on a strict Cal Seething- 082116- drinkregimen of breakfast cocktails and blender drinks (the Lochte diet.) And the daytime programming is way better because the focus is on the sports not inane blather, human interest schmaltz and inspirational advertising. I guess the evil corporations of the world figure that if you’re watching team table tennis in your underwear at 11 AM drinking pina coladas, then a lack of inspiration isn’t really as pressing a problem for you as, say, updating your LinkedIn profile or getting the hell out of Rio before the cops come for your passport.

But I think they’re just jealous- I proudly watched the Team Table Tennis finals and they were fantastic even though I had no idea which country was which or what gender they were or how many points were in a game or how many games in a set or how many sets in a match or why they kept switching between Singles and Doubles or how they would possibly know who won and when they won and how much they won by or how the hell Ping Pong ended up in the Olympics when the far superior games of Air Hockey and Skee-Ball still languish on the sidelines. And the announcer was no help- he just kept explaining the format by saying, “you know, it’s just like Davis Cup!’ – which is like giving directions to East Bumfuck by saying “you know, it’s just east of Bumfuck!” All I know is that it was crazy and fast moving and for that moment in time in that one place in the universe there was absolutely nothing more important than who came out on top. And as much as I love theatre- if I could produce or even see just one play that meant this much the people watching it or involved, then I could walk away happy except then I would have to get a real job and seriously, fuck that.

And it’s not even like I’m some huge table tennis fan. I much prefer Rugby 7’s – where, as my wife said, the whole game is like the last five Cal Seething- 082116- hockeyseconds of a football game when the whole thing just devolves into a crazy series of laterals – and who doesn’t want 14 straight minutes of the Music City Miracle (Bills fans excluded). And then there’s field hockey- where the field is as blue as the diving pool should be; and handball, invented by an alcoholic Yugolslavian gym teacher in the dead of winter who was running out of ideas for what to do inside and clearly getting desperate. Years later on his death bed, he was heard to mutter repeatedly “Goddamn it, Dodge Ball!! I forgot about Dodge Ball!!” And then there’s soccer, basketball, volleyball and all the running, jumping, twisting, turning, throwing, thrusting, stabbing, slashing, splashing, paddling, peddling, punching, rassling, riding, rowing, ribbon tossing, gun shooting and, I guess, whatever, golf. All of which has made of a terrific distraction from the floods, fires and fuckwads which have fouled up 2016.

But all things must end, except NBC’s contract with the Olympics. Just two weeks ago, the Olympics began with a festive tribute to slavery using a human hamster wheel and an earnest segment about how the earth is getting hotter because of the actions of man. Specifically this man:

Cal Seething- 082116- shirtless


Holy crap! What’s Tongalese for “hubba hubba”? I hope you’re watching Exxon- Cause THAT’s an ad for oil!

In all seriousness, though, sustainability is an important theme of the Olympics which is why the medal winners are getting little Cal Seething- 082116- riostatueplastic statues of the Olympic logo instead of flowers. After all, flowers are wasteful cause they die and decompose but these plastic statues will last forever in a landfill! Oh well- at least the Olympic venues are sustainable since as soon as the games are over, they’ll be recycled into homeless encampments.

And that’s going to be pretty soon- because the games are just about over. The Closing Ceremonies are upon us, and Simone Biles will be carrying the flag for the US (Ryan Lochte was invited to do it but the invite came from the Rio police.) And the team she leads out reflects not only what is great about the Olympics- with their athletic prowess, sheer determination and mostly non-douchey behavior- but what’s actually great about America. Because it is a team that reflects the population of our country- and that in turn is a reflection of the entire world. And all of you that are composing angry messages to me in your heads about how that’s a load of crap because the team is still WAY TOO WHITE and all the power is in the hands of WHITE MEN and we still have a WHOLE LOT OF WORK TO DO- well- you guys also make America great since, like Subway, you’re always #StrivingforBetter and I totally mean that in the least patronizing way possible, no matter what Jezebel says about me.

And that gives us something to shoot for in 2020- or better yet, 2024 in LA! Just picture it- President Clinton enjoying the games as her second term winds down- and why shouldn’t she? She’s done a great job and once her granddaughter taught her Snapchat her presidency was scandal free. And she can be confident knowing that her legacy will be secure- after all Michelle is kicking ass in the polls- and while that may not be great news for McDonalds- it sure is great for America (not the beer, the country. You DO NOT want to hear Michelle’s opinion of beer).

And where will I be for the 2024 LA Olympics? Where do you think? In Palm Springs, of course, watching NBC and complaining about it (a Ted Danson / Elle Fanning sitcom about the Rapture? Are you kidding me????) with a pitcher of pina coladas and a mimosa.

Cal Seething- 082116- mimosa

Oh yeah. That sounds pretty great to me.








[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!

[The Ryan Dixon Line]- The McRib is Back- 2014 Edition

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My journey to becoming a PhD in Pork Product and being hailed as the world’s foremost expert on McDonald’s legendary and enigmatic sandwich all began with a seemingly innocuous blog that I wrote five years ago arguing that the McRib, an object of both mirthless odium and near-religious devotion, was simply the Citizen Kane of rapidly-processed culinary cuisine.

Almost immediately after publication, I came to terms with the fact that this blog would probably sink to the never-to-be-read-again seabed of the fathomless internet ocean. But a year later, a reporter, working on his own McRib story for the Wall Street Journal, read the post and reached out to interview me. With the publication of that front-page article and a subsequent NPR interview, I stepped upon the national stage to take my rightful place as the Susan Boyle of fast foodies. (Google “Ryan Dixon McRib” and 29,500 results come roaring back at you.)

My fame reached its apex when, after following me on Twitter, a rep from McDonald’s personally reached out to provide me with a yearly allotment of fifty “Free McRib Passes” to share with friends, family and, most importantly, myself. Unfortunately, my instinct for self-sabotage proved greater than my hunger for BBQ pork product. My free ride on the McRib Express ended when, in 2012, I was quoted by NPR’s “The Salt” stating that McDonald’s quest to push the McRib from beloved cult item into mainstream favorite caused the sandwich to “jump the shark.”

Despite now being persona non grata at Hamburger Central, I still eagerly anticipate the annual arrival of those banners, draped under the Golden Arches, inscribed with that immortal phrase “The McRib is Back.”  And it warms my heart to know that in a period of great partisan divide, our nation is still able to come together and eat a sandwich that will fill the hearts of those who taste it with the splendor hitherto known only to suicide bombers who’ve been greeted by the 72 Vestal Virgins in Paradise.


1. The McRib is the Last of its Kind.

Ryan-McRib-pic1Let me come right out and say it: The McRib has no ribs. It is a patty of pork product with rib-shaped strips pressed into it. Even then, the rib-shaped strips don’t look like actual ribs as much as they do french toast sticks, yet that’s all the more reason to love it.

We live in an all-natural, organicized society where coastal dwelling disciples of the Michael Pollan cabal want their food farm fresh, free range and, whenever possible, real. In a world where McDonald’s now sells apple slices, KFC heralds its grilled chicken from on high, and Subway’s Jared has become the most famous calorie-killing Jedi since Richard Simmons, the McRib stands alone; a fast food Fortinbras.

The McRib’s annual re-appearance is a ghostly reminder of a time (known in some circles as the late 1970’s and 80’s) when synthetic, overtly unhealthy, “better than real” food was in fashion. All you really need to remember about the dietary choices of this era is that Country Time Old Fashioned Lemonade Drink Mix used the fact that it tasted just like real lemonade as a selling point.

The arrival of the McRib should be a cause for celebration, not scorn, for it bears witness, is in fact the last witness, to a woebegone age when we liked our fast food fake.

2. The Mysteries of the McRib are UnfathomableRyan-McRib-pic2

Nationally released in 1981, the McRib was originally a regular item on McDonald’s menu until low sales caused the restaurant chain to change its strategy and start bringing it out sporadically for a “limited time only.” For many years after the sandwich was paired each spring with the Shamrock Shake, but then that winning combo was discontinued without explanation and the McRib’s arrival grew ever more unpredictable– sometimes the sandwich wouldn’t appear for several years, then it’d be seen multiple times in the same year or, as was the case in 2006, its arrival was called a “farewell tour,” but it was back again in 2008 and has returned, more or less annually, since then.

While some saw this inconsistency as a misguided marketing strategy, others began to see patterns within the seemingly patternless morass, giving birth to a host of McRib conspiracy theories (including one that had McDonald’s basing the release of the sandwich on the price of pork) that would befuddle even Robert Langdon.

The enigma that is the McRib has also created so great an epidemic of rumors and apocrypha revolving around which locations are currently serving the sandwich that the website “McRib Locator” was created to separate the lies from the truth. Despite these heroic efforts, the mystery remains. The McRib is our first Cryptofood, a culinary cousin to the Sasquatch and Chupacabra, lurking within the restaurant of our imagination.

The ephemeral nature of the McRib also reminds us all of our own mortality. With each bite we both fall back into the past– to that rainy spring day when we ate them with a father now long gone or the romantic evening spent sharing one with a college-aged girlfriend still-missed– and dream about the future, pining for the day when a yet-to-be-born son unwraps his first McRib. When finished with the sandwich, we all pray that, in the final autumn of our lives, there will be enough time to take one last bite.

3. Eating a McRib Is Nothing Like Eating a Real Rib—and That’s a Good ThingRyan-McRib-pic3

How many times have you gone to a BBQ restaurant, saw the ribs on the menu, began to salivate at the thought of eating them, but stopped just as you were about to order upon the realization that by doing so the mess involved would cause you to end up resembling an underfed zombie who just dined on a trio of kids at a fat camp?

Like its younger, and more universally accepted cousin, the boneless buffalo wing, the McRib gives you the sweet barbecue tang of ribs without the threat of sartorial besmirchment. And, let’s face it; you get a hell of a lot more meat with a McRib than you do on actual ribs. It’s no contest really, you might wanna date real ribs, but you’ll end up marrying the McRib.

(What? You think that the McRib is actually the messiest fast food item of all time? Well, you’ll be happy to know that this year’s pork patty seemed decidedly smaller than the faux-balloon bread bun it rests between and the distribution of the sauce was far more judicious than in years past.)

4. The McRib is THE Polarizing Force in Fast FoodRyan-McRib-pic4

No one is ever neutral about the McRib. Go ahead; ask your friend, lover, parent or child about it and you’ll hear one of two things:

“I love it!”


“I hate it!”

Let’s get real here folks, this isn’t an argument about whether BK’s Whopper or Wendy’s Bacon Double Cheeseburger is better, we’re in Republicans vs. Democrats, Sharks vs. Jets, Catholics vs. Protestants (circa 1600, that is) territory.

Developing the palette to enjoy a McRib is really no different from having dinner at Noma, gulping down a piece of fugu or munching on a pack of chocolate covered ants. Quite simply, this sandwich separates the posers from the true fast food connoisseur.

And now, for the fifth and final reason that the McRib is the Greatest Fast Food Item of All time…

Need. To. Eat. McRib. NOW!

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Jersey Joe’s Year Four Rewind

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Here it is – my fourth official season finale!  True, I’ve only been writing on Been and Going since it launched about a year ago, but this blog has now been online for four complete years.  It all started 182 editions ago on  As my season wraps, I always go back and update what I’ve written about.  So, get ready as we take a quick look back…

You can click on the title of each blog to check out the original post.


Blogumn #134 – April 12, 2013


This blogumn looked at the new Judge Judy slot machines that had just hit casino floors.  At the time, the machines were highly popular and can still be found in most major casinos.


The popularity of this slot machine continues today.  During a recent visit to Atlantic City, there was always somebody playing them and still had a line of spectators watching at both banks of machines I found at Bally’s and the Golden Nugget.



Blogumn #139 – May 17, 2013


This blogumn took a look at one of my favorite video games of all time, Burger Time.  The game is simple, you are the chef and your job is to assemble hamburgers in a crazy kitchen where the ingredients have come to life and are after you!


I love to play this game at Barcade, in Jersey City, New Jersey.  Barcade is a cross between a bar and arcade that thankfully, is for adults only.


Sadly, the machine has gone missing from this location.  Barcade is in the process of opening a new location in Manhattan and I can only hope that it will end up there.  Both locations will only be a PATH train ride away.



Blogumn #140 – May 21, 2013


In this special edition, I discussed the new Burger King Rib Sandwich that the fast food chain had added to their menu.  It was their first big jab at McDonald’s by creating their own version of McDonald’s legendary McRib.


The Burger King Rib Sandwich was added to last summer’s menu and I judged it to be far superior to the McRib.  While it did sell well, the sandwich finished its summer run and was removed from BK’s menu early last fall.  Sadly, it has not returned and there have been no plans announced to bring it back.  I hope that Burger King reconsiders and makes this a permanent addition to their menu.



Blog #157 – December 5, 2013


In a little over a week after online gambling was legalized and officially launched in New Jersey, I tested out a few sites to see what all the hype was about.


Like it or hate it, online gambling has generated extra revenue for both the state and the Atlantic City casinos who took part in it.  Sadly, the state overestimated how much revenue would be brought in.


The state was estimating that $10.6 million would be earned in just six weeks.  The total earned was $7.3 million, which is still a success.  The revenue earned from legal online gambling has saw steady growth from January – March, with April being the first to see a slight decline in the amount wagered.  The state still expects continued growth moving forward.



Blog #162 – January 9, 2014


This blog took a look back at the night I was there for the final moments of the Sands casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  With my old camera phone, I captured the final blackjack hand and security ushering everyone out, while the slots were being turned off.  The casino was closed for a project, that was to build a mega casino and hotel in it’s place.  Sadly, the economy went bust and the project never happened.


The Madison House, a hotel that is located across the street from the site, was once used as an additional hotel tower for the Sands.  It closed when the casino did, but finally reopened this past January.  Sadly, Tripadvisor reviews of the initial opening were terrible.  Guests complained of slow elevators, filthy and outdated rooms, and a strong cigarette smoke smell.  Many guests have commented that a renovation has begun and hopefully this will be a step in the right direction for the historic property.  I plan to check it out as some point in the future.


The Sands site still sits unused, outside of a light up artist installation.



Blog #169 – February 27, 2014


In this hilarious video I found online, we get to see TV’s Judge Joe Brown all liquored up and hitting on a group of women at some kind of resort.  Joe even makes fun of his old TV show.


Since then, Judge Joe has gone back to being a lawyer in Memphis, Tennessee.  Back in March, during a court child support preceding, he went on a tirade against the judge and it got him thrown in jail.  (You can hear TMZ’s copy of the court room audio here.) He was sentenced to five days, but was released in a couple of hours.  He is also running for District Attorney in Shelby County.  Could it have all been a publicity stunt?


THE 411


Name: Kicking Back with Jersey Joe


What: weekly blog on


Time: new editions post Thursday at Noon Eastern / 9am Pacific




Thanks again for all your support and for checking out my blog.  I love how we get to chat like this each week.  As always, feel free to comment below each post or reach out to me on twitter @jerseyjoe50.


This summer, I have a quite a treat for all of you TV fans.  Starting with next week’s blog, I am going to post 10 at a time, my 100 favorite TV show theme songs.  You’ll get to see show opens from some of your favorite series and a few that I’m sure you’ve forgotten.  Don’t miss it – starting next week!


Image credits – Chris Marquardt, Kathrina Birkenbach,

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] A Chicken Big Mac?

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Just about all of us have had a meal at McDonald’s at one point in our lives.  Everyone is equally familiar with their signature Big Mac sandwich.  Those two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onion, on a sesame seed bun.  The sandwich has gone unchanged for half a century, but now thanks to competition – another restaurant is trying to “one up” the Golden Arches, by replacing those beef patties – with chicken!


The McDonald's Big Mac

The McDonald’s Big Mac

The Big Mac was developed by a Pennsylvania McDonald’s franchisee in the 1950’s.  The special or secret sauce that makes up the sandwich is rarely used by McDonald’s on any other products.


In fact, it has happened only twice.


McDonald’s once sold a Mac Jr., which was a single cheeseburger, topped with the Mac sauce, lettuce, and pickles.  For a brief time in 2011, a Mac Snack wrap was also sold which featured half of a hamburger patty, the secret sauce, cheese, lettuce, pickles, and onion wrapped up in a flour tortilla.


This year, McDonald’s has expanded their Quarter Pounder sandwich line by offering a new Bacon Clubhouse burger which features a quarter pound beef patty, cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and the Big Mac secret sauce on a special Kaiser roll.  This is the first time the sauce has ever been used on different burger.  McDonalds also has a chicken option, where you can get chicken instead of beef, but with the secret sauce the taste, just isn’t very good.


The Big Mac is sold at most worldwide McDonald’s locations, but there are several variations, including versions that replace the beef with a chicken patty and more.  (read more about the international versions here).  But, none of these have ever been sold in the United States.


McDonald’s has been facing some stiff competition lately in a fast food burger war, by their greatest opponent – Burger King.


The Burger King Whopper sandwich.

The Burger King Whopper sandwich.

Burger King has its own signature sandwich, The Whopper.  But, they’ve fired a torpedo at the Golden Arches by creating their Big Mac knockoff – the Big King.


The Big King was first introduced back in the 1990’s, but was reformulated and only sold for a limited time.  However, it made a big return last year worldwide and is now once again assembled identically to a Big Mac.


For my money, the Big King just tastes better.  I like the flavor or BK’s flame broiled patties and I think their sauce is just a hint more subtle.  I think you can swap Big Mac sauce for regular tartar sauce and not know the difference.  BK’s sauce is more similar to Thousand Island salad dressing. (which, maybe it is?)


The Chicken Big King.

The Chicken Big King.

Burger King is going for round 2 in the burger war, by adding a chicken version to their menu.  Introduced a couple weeks ago, America can now feast on the Chicken Big King.


I decided to finally give one a try and Burger King is making it easy by offering two for $5 as a special, which really is a deal.  The sandwich uses two of the basic lightly spiced chicken patty BK uses on their value chicken sandwiches.


Once again though, I don’t think the special sauce works with chicken.  It tastes like a fish sandwich with tarter sauce.


That was the same issue I had with the chicken version of McDonald’s Chicken Clubhouse sandwich (which they gave me by mistake the time I ordered, but I tried it anyway.)  The special sauce just doesn’t work for chicken.  The taste reminds me of the Filet-O-Fish.


But, for a limited time BK is selling these on their 2 for $5 promotional menu.  These items rotate on a regular basis, so if you are interested in trying one, I wouldn’t wait around that long.  The sandwich is sold for a limited time only.


But, thanks to the fast food war, Americans can now experience what diners in other countries have for years and that’s the chicken version of the Big Mac or Big King.


The Chicken Big King contains 660 calories and 37g fat.


THE 411


Name: Chicken Big King


What: chicken version of McDonald’s Big Mac or Burger Kings Big King sandwiches


Where served: Burger King restaurants worldwide


Introduced: 2014


Availability: Limited Time Only




While I again applaud Burger King for trying and testing a new sandwich, I say skip this one.  You’re better off just going for the regular Big King.


Image credits – Don, Chandra Marsono

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] The McGangbang & Other McDonald’s Secret Menu Items

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Ordering an item off a restaurant’s secret menu, can give you the feeling that you’re part of a club, where only special people have the privileged information.  Many restaurants have secret menus, or items that you can order, that aren’t officially on the menu.   Fast food restaurants are no exception, with everyone from Burger King to In and Out Burger getting in on the secret menu act.


Some restaurants are more open about their secret items than others.  Dozens of websites and news stories are devoted to finding the newest secret item.  While some have been created by the restaurant specifically, others have been created by fans, and have become lore.  I recently sampled two of McDonald’s secret menu items: The McGangBang and The Land, Sea, and Air Burger.


The McGangBang




The McGangBang may be McDonald’s most famous secret menu item and likely, because of the price.  Both items needed to make the sandwich come off the dollar menu, giving you a full meal for only a couple of bucks.


Simply put, the McGangBang is a McChicken sandwich, shoved in between the patties of a McDouble.  Each costs $1 on the dollar menu, so for a cheap $2 plus tax, you have this belly busting sandwich!


The name is a nod to the adult term, “gang bang” which means to have intercourse with multiple partners at one time.  So, I guess your taste buds are getting multiple flavors at one time?  Obviously, this is not officially sanctioned by the McDonald’s corporation.


When I tried ordering this at my local New Jersey McDonald’s, the woman had no idea what I was talking about.  Sadly, she spoke little English, so even ordering regular items became a challenge.  Armed with my knowledge of the sandwich, I ordered the McChicken and a McDouble and assembled them, myself.


The taste was pretty good and the sandwich is definitely filling!  The chicken and the beef patties go well together.  The mayo from the McChicken worked well with the ketchup, pickle, and onions of the McDouble.  Each time I chewed, I got a little flavor of chicken and then a little flavor of beef.  The sandwich was a little heavy with all the multiple patties of meat.


Maybe a more “in the know” cashier will know about this sandwich, but my first secret menu ordering attempt was a bust.  Some online reports list this as being first served by employees at a Daytona Beach, Florida McDonald’s.  (Again, probably without the consent of the McDonald’s corporation.)



According to recipes online, you can replace the McDouble with a Big Mac, but I’m not sure how that would work with the secret sauce.  You can also spice this up, by replacing the McChicken with a Spicy McChicken.  I’d definitely try this again, but keep to the original McDouble recipe.


Apparently, there is another version known as a McWhitey, which features a Filet-O-Fish sandwiched in between two McChickens.


The Land, Sea, and Air Burger

The Land, Sea, and Air Burger



This giant sandwich looks really nice once assembled!  The land, sea, and air burger consists of a patty of beef (land), fish (sea), and chicken (air) all placed together.  Yes, I know chickens can’t really fly… I’m not responsible for naming this thing!  Would you rather call it the Land, Sea, and Embryo Hatcher Burger?


To enjoy this monstrosity, you will have to pony up several bucks.  Only the Hamburger and McChicken are on the dollar menu, so you will need to pay the full price for the Filet-O-Fish to finish this giant sandwich.


This time, I tried ordering at a New York City McDonald’s and again, she had no idea what I was talking about.  So, I ordered the three sandwiches separately and assembled everything myself.


The taste was really gross.  The tarter sauce from the Filet-O-Fish drowned out all other flavors and the fish was really nasty with the hamburger and chicken.  While it looked impressive when plated, the taste prevented me from finishing this one.


I couldn’t find who first came up with the idea for this sandwich, but it is not as much of a cost saver as the McGangBang.  Do yourself a favor and pass on this one.


The internet is full of McDonald’s secret menu items, but it looks like only fans or bored employees are responsible.  None of these are sanctioned by the restaurant.


A few other popular so called McDonald’s secret menu items are:


Big McChicken – a Big Mac, but with the buns replaced with McChicken patties, similar to the KFC Double Down sandwich a few years ago

Chicken McGriddle – a McGriddle breakfast sandwich with a slab of fried chicken instead of the sausage, egg, or bacon

Grilled Cheese – cheeseburger with no meat patty or condiments

Mc1035 – only available from 10:35-11am, when breakfast service is switching over to lunch, featuring two burger patties and cheese (from a McDouble) sandwiched inside an Egg McMuffin

McCrepe – an order of hotcakes, with a yogurt parfait folded up inside

McKinley Mac – this was actually served at one time and still is overseas, featuring Quarter Pounder patties, instead of regular burger patties, on a Big Mac

Monster Mac – 8 burger patties piled inside a Big Mac, variations have appeared on overseas menus

Pie McFlurry – a McFlurry with an apple pie blended inside


While some of these may sound crazy, McDonald’s has an interesting assortment of sandwiches, which ARE being served by their restaurants overseas.  While there are hundreds of sandwiches we never see here, here’s a list of a few more novel ones being offered in foreign markets:


The Ebi Filet-O in Japan

The Ebi Filet-O in Japan

German Sausage Chicken – served in Japan, fried chicken patty, pork sausage, sauerkraut, cheese, and mustard

Mega Sausage – served for breakfast in Japan, a hot dog with relish and ketchup or mustard

McPork – served in Japan, a sausage patty with lettuce and sweet & sour sauce

Ebi Filet-O – served in Japan, a shrimp patty with Thousand Island dressing and lettuce

Mega Tomago – served in Japan, a double Big Mac with egg and bacon

Ad for the Mega Tomago

Ad for the Mega Tomago

McD Chicken Porridge – served in Malaysia, porridge with onions and chicken

Prosperity Burger – served in Malaysia, looks like a McRib, but with black pepper sauce and onions, may be chicken or beef

McSpaghetti – served in the Philippines

Seaweed Shaker Fries – served in Asia

Chicken Maharaja Mac – served in India, a Big Mac with spicy grilled chicken, instead of beef

McAloo Tiki Burger – potato and chickpea patty with tomato, onions, and tomato mayonnaise

Brie Nuggets – served in Russia

McTurco – served in Turkey, two beef patties, lettuce, tomato, cayenne pepper sauce on a pita

The McLobster

The McLobster

Kiwi Burger – served in New Zealand, with beef, tomato, fried egg, lettuce, and beet root

McLobster – served in Canada & parts of US, lobster salad on a roll

Lakeswrap – served in Norway, fried salmon filet, lettuce, cheese, in a tortilla

McKroket – served in Hungary, fried pastry filled with beef stew on a bun

• McPumpkin Omlet Sandwich – served in Hungary, vegetable beef hash brown, egg, cheese, lettuce, mayonnaise, on pumpkin seed roll


McDonald’s first opened in 1940 in San Bernardino, California and along with the rise of the automobile, helped fuel the fast food craze that swept through the United States and now globally.  Their menu of quick service burgers and fries, along with their mascot Ronald McDonald, has become an American icon.


While McDonald’s does not have an official company sanctioned secret menu, many other fast food chains do.  Pass along the info if you know of or have tried any!


McDonald's restaurant in Miles City, Montana

McDonald’s restaurant in Miles City, Montana

THE 411


Name: McGangBang and Land, Sea, and Air Burger


What: so called McDonald’s restaurant secret menu items


First served: approximately 2006?  Popularity spread with rise of internet





Don’t be surprised if you get shot down when you ask for one of these at your local McDonald’s.  I don’t want to discourage you from giving it a try.  But, if they have no idea what you are talking about, just do what I did, and order the parts to assemble the sandwiches yourself.


Just stay away from the Land, Sea, and Air burger… this thing is just gross!


Image credits – loop_oh, albedo20, Tony Chung, Canadian Pacific, and Dave Schott

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Burger King Tries to Invent a Healthier French Fry & Goes to War

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BK satisfries 3Can you take the classic deep fried, golden brown French fry and make it even healthier?  Burger King thinks so with what they are calling “Satisfries.”  I find out exactly how much healthier they are and if you should make the switch.


Burger King, opened their first restaurant known as Insta-Burger King in Jacksonville, Florida back in 1953.  After the first concept failed, a year later the restaurant was re-launched as simply Burger King focusing on fast food hamburgers, fries, sodas, and milkshakes.


Many people now simply refer to it as BK for short.


French fries have been a fast food meal staple since the launch of the drive thru restaurant concept in the 1950’s.  Before that, they can be traced all the way back to Belgium in the 17th century, where they were often deep fried alongside fish as a meal for the poor.


French fries eventually made their way to the Americas and were even served at a White House dinner by President Thomas Jefferson in 1802.


Generally regarded as not the healthiest of meal options, the thin sliced potatoes are deep fried in oil or fat, until crisp and a golden brown.  They are then generally seasoned with salt and served with ketchup.  (Yes, I know some people love gravy, cheese, mayonnaise, etc.)


Burger King has decided they want to offer a healthier French fry and have created a version that they advertise as 40% less fat and 30% fewer calories than McDonald’s fries.


BK introduced the Satisfries on September 24th as part of a end of the year marketing push with a big media blitz.  The restaurant sent hot samples to many TV shows and food critics.   They also gave away free samples at restaurants.



My friend Max, along with several others who seem to be concerned about my terrible eating, gave me the suggestion to give them a try.  For those who’ve read this blog for years, know that I am generally open to trying a new fast food item.


The Burger King restaurant located next to the World Trade Center construction site in New York City.

The two level Burger King restaurant located next to the World Trade Center construction site in New York City.

On a recent commute home from work, I stopped by the Burger King restaurant located directly next to the World Trade Center construction site in New York City.  4 World Trade Center now towers high above the two story restaurant.


I went inside a little before 7pm and there were hardly any customers.  I was greeted by two BK employees arguing in the back, while others watched and laughed.  The whole place had an extremely unprofessional feel, but I was promptly greeted at the cash register.


I placed an order for a sandwich and a side of medium Satisfries.  She did the usual, try to get me to buy the value meal speech, but I didn’t want to handle a drink on the train.  I placed my order, paid and then waited… and waited… and waited… and waited.


The idea of being a fast food restaurant, means serving up fast food.  While they had an entire bin of regular fries ready to go, they had to special make the Satisfries.  It took about 7 minutes and multiple times yelling at the back to get my order complete.


An order of Burger King Satisfries

An order of Burger King Satisfries.

The first thing I noticed is that these fries are crinkle cut, as opposed to the straight slim cuts of BK’s regular fries.  BK did this on purpose, so employees are quickly able to distinguish between the two.


I took a bite and they are quite good, but nothing special.  The taste honestly reminds me of opening a bag of frozen Ore-Ida fries from the freezer section of my local grocery store.  To me, there is really no difference is taste or shape.


The cost for my medium order of Satisfries was $2.89, while a medium order of regular Burger King fries was $2.59 according to the price posted on the menu board.  That’s a 30 cent markup for health.


And now the health breakdown:

BK satisfries breakdown


Judging by information provided on both restaurants’ websites, the Satisfries are much healthier than the regular BK fries and it does appear they are 30% healthier than McDonald’s as advertised.  It’s up to you if the extra time and cost are worth it.


Burger King BBQ Rib Sandwich, their take on the McDonald's McRib.

Burger King BBQ Rib Sandwich, their take on the McDonald’s McRib.

The Big King, Burger King's take on the McDonald's Big Mac.

The Big King, Burger King’s take on the McDonald’s Big Mac.












And Burger King is not done yet.  They’re in the process of dropping a bomb in the fast food war against McDonald’s by adding the new Big King and BBQ Rib sandwiches to their menu.  They are BK’s version of the popular Big Mac and McRib sandwiches.  BK has already scored a victory in the harsh New York City market, by getting their items in the hands of hungry customers, first.  MYC is still patiently waiting for the McRib, while BK is already offering theirs for a $1 bargain.

BK satisfries 2

THE 411


Name: Satisfries


What: healthier French fries served at Burger King restaurants


Cost: $2.59 for medium order in NYC




Skip these.  They may be a little healthier, but they’re really no different from frozen fries you can buy in the grocery store.  They are also not worth the wait.  This is fast food, after all.  And if you are a health nut, you’re most likely skipping the fast food fries, anyhow.

And for some fun, flip over the wrapper for the BBQ Rib Sandwich and you’ll find a surprise!  BK restaurants in Wisconsin and Illinois are also serving a Bratwurst Sandwich, which consists of 2 Johnsonville Brats, mustard, onions, and pickle on a long roll for football season.  It is currently not a nationwide promotion.

Inverse side of the BBQ Rib Sandwich wrapper which could also be used for the Bratwurst sandwich.

Inverse side of the BBQ Rib Sandwich wrapper which could also be used for the Bratwurst sandwich.