Friday, December 30, 2005

I'm Stuffed...But Not In A Good Way !

There are few things in life that I find more annoying than a stuffy nose. See that picture? That's how I fell right now! I've had a stuffy nose for the past couple of days and it's really annoying me! At least it's not a full-blown stuffiness (pardon the pun!)...It's the kind where only one side of your nose is stuffed and you're still able to breathe through the other. Here's something - I'm not sure if this is weird or what...If I'm laying on my left side, the left nostril becomes stuffed and the right one clears. If I lay on my right side, the right one becomes stuffed and the left one clears! The real bummer for me is that whenever I get a stuffy nose I lose my sense of taste. That's a killer for me because I LOVE to eat! Oh well. I'm doing my best to ride it out and avoid passing it along to the family.

Got a good stuffy nose remedy?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Tony Danza

Merry Christmas! I hope you had a great holiday weekend. There's always a certian amount of stress and craziness that goes along with Christmas - but hopefully you found some time to stop for a moment and enjoy.

I had a great Christmas this year. Christmas Day is spent visiting my side of the family, and we typically like to keep our Christmas Eve simple and quiet. Usually it's just church and a big Italian meal. And NO not the "seven fishes" that are traditional for many Italians. Neither of us like fish, so we go in another direction. Usually it's pasta, meatballs, sausage, chicken parm, & garlic bread...but this year she/we made something a little different. We call it "The Tony Danza". Since we ripped off the idea from a cooking segment on one of his TV shows, we felt it only fair that we name the dish after him. Here's a brief explanation of "The Tony Danza":

In a big caserole/baking dish...

A bottom layer of fried eggplant...crispy!...
Then a layer of cooked ziti...
Then a layer of crumpled sausage and gravy (marina sauce for the uninformed!)...
Another layer of fried eggplant...
Another layer of ziti...
Another layer of sausage/gravy...
A layer of white sauce...
Topped with grated mozzarella, Parmesan, & Romano cheeses

It's similar to a lasagna...only WAY BETTER!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Office Yankee Swap !

Have you seen The Office on NBC? Very funny show! It's not quite as good as the original British version that runs on the BBC channel - but it's funny nonetheless. Anyway - on their Christmas episode last week, the people in The Office participated in a "yankee swap". Any baseball fans reading this may be inclined to think a yankee swap is when George Steinbrenner trades away young prospects for aging stars...but that's not what we're talking about here. In case you don't know, a yankee swap is a way of exchanging gifts when there are many people in an office or a very large family. It's basically a more fun (and mean-spirited!) alternative to the stale pollyanna. The crew here at WAYV along with our sister stations will be having our yankee swap here in the office tomorrow. I hope I get something good!

If you're new to the yankee swap, here's a quick rundown of how it works. Maybe you'll use it in your workplace.

1. Everyone brings an unlabeled wrapped gift (agreed upon dollar amount).
2. Everyone gets a randomly drawn number.
3. The person with the lowest number goes first. He or she picks a present, opens it, and hangs onto it.
4. Each person in order then gets to pick a present, open it, and decide whether to keep it or swap it for another present that's already been opened.
5. Opening and swapping continues until all presents have been opened.
6. The person who went first also gets to go last - so they get to pick from ALL the gifts.

It must be stated that the yankee swap is not exactly representative of the Christmas spirit. After all, instead of giving gifts to others, you're basically TAKING gifts from others! There have been many arguments and fights resulting from yankee swaps - so beware! In fact, there was such a yankee swap controversy in my wife's family a couple of years ago that one of the family members now refuses to participate. So remember it's supposed to be all in good fun - and don't be too disappointed when the gift you'd like to keep gets "yanked" and swapped for a potholder!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 16, 2005

PK's Top Ten TV Holiday Specials Of All-Time !

I've revealed two of my all-time TV Christmas specials in previous blog entries ("A Charlie Brown Christmas" and "Emmett Otter's Jugband Christmas") and I promised to reveal a third. I'm going to up the ante here and give you my all-time Top 10 TV Holiday Specials!

First I'll let you in on what the third of my BIG 3 specials is..."Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town"!

"Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town" is one of many holiday classics to be put together by the team of Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass. You probably see the "Rankin-Bass" name attached to some of your favorite specials as well. They're basically the Lennon-McCartney of holiday specials! Anyway, if you've never seen it..."Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town" is one of the specials made using stop-motion animation. It tells the complete story of Santa from when he was a little baby all the way to the present time (or 1970 when this was made!). The story is told from the perspective of the North Pole mailman "S.D" (short for Special Delivery) who is played by the legendary Fred Astaire. He does a wonderful job narrating the story and taking us from scene to scene. S.D. tells the story of Santa to answer all the questions that kids ask Santa in their letters to him. We find out why he wears a red suit...Why he comes down chimneys...Why he only comes once a year...Why he has a beard...Why he laughs like "Ho Ho Ho"...How reindeer began to well as the answers to many other questions. The songs are instantly memorable. The most popular being "Put One Foot In Front Of The Other".

What I really like about "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town" is that while it's all about the history of Santa, they don't ignore the religious history of Christmas - including references to the 3 wise men, Mary and Joseph, the "holiest night of the year", and the birth of a special baby. In my view, this special is every bit as good as "Rudolph" (another Rankin-Bass classic), which gets much more attention.

OK - here's my complete Top 10!

10. 'Twas The Night Before Christmas
09. Frosty's Winter Wonderland
08. The Little Drummer Boy
07. The Year Without A Santa Claus
06. Frosty The Snowman
05. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
04. The Fat Albert Christmas Special (Hey Hey Hey!)
03. Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town
02. Emmett Otter's Jugband Christmas
01. A Charlie Brown Christmas

Happy viewing!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Football Pre-Nup ?

I was listening to Mike & Diane this morning talking about some of the wacky things that are a part of many Hollywood couple pre-nup agreements. There was one that stated the woman could not weigh more than 120 pounds...Another contained language to make sure the hubby behaved well around his in-laws...Another (I think it was Michael Douglas & Catherine Zeta-Jones) contained a clause for a cash settlement of over $1,000,000 in the event the hubby was unfaithful. Then I heard them mention one that stated the hubby could only watch ONE football game in any given weekend. Mike & Diane correctly commented that there's no way that rule could stick in MY house!

My wife Nicole and I started dating back in the Spring/Summer of 1997. As summer was drawing to a close I knew it was time to have "the talk". "The talk" is probably not what you're thinking it is. For me - "the talk" meant explaining to her that I would be largely unavailable for dinners, movies, dates, functions, events, or get-togethers of any kind for the next 20 Sundays or so. You see, for me, Sundays are for two and football. Pretty much anything else can be done just about any other day of the week...but the NFL is Sundays (and Mondays...and the occassional Thursday or Saturday) ONLY! I was/am EXTRAORDINARILY lucky that that she never had a problem with my 12 hour block of football watching on Sundays. Yes...TWELVE hours. You've got the pre-game stuff, then there are games at 1pm, 4pm, and 8:30pm. I think Nicole could tell, even at that early stage in our relationship, that I was so far gone as an NFL junkie that there was no use even fighting it. I dare to say that "permission" to watch football on the weekends is right up there with looks, brains, and personality when it comes to what men are looking for in a bride. In reality, it may even be ahead of the latter two (kidding!).

I always go out of the way to keep my Sundays open from September through January. For example, we wanted to have our daughters baptized in January of last year after our normal church service. I carefully selected the one week in January when there was no NFL football being played (there's usually a week "off" before Super Bowl Sunday).

EVERY couple could use a little time apart each week. It's good for the relationship! It gives guys like me a chance to be "guys" and it gives women like my wife a chance to catch up on her soaps or watch Lifetime movies - which are VERY addicting, by the way...but that's a blog for another day. There are many things that couples enjoy doing together - and there are other things that only one of you enjoys doing. I say, why not allow time for those things?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Thanks Jim Henson !

Last week I blogged about one of my all-time favorite Christmas specials - "A Charlie Brown Christmas". In that blog, I mentioned that there were two other specials (in addition to "Charlie") that rank as my top 3. So here we go with another of them... "Emmett Otter's Jugband Christmas"!

Emmett Otter is one of the many amazing creations of Jim Henson (who left us too soon). If you've seen it, I'll go out on a limb and guess that you probably had HBO back in the early days of cable TV. I know that's how I came across it...and everyone I've ever known who has seen it saw it on HBO too. For as good as this special is, it never really became mainstream - for whatever reason. But I can say that I've never met anyone who has seen it and NOT loved it! My sister Christine and I probably watched "Emmett Otter" together every Christmas season till the time we both moved out of my parents' house. It's a Christmas tradition for me...and one I hope to pass on to my two little girls!

"Emmett Otter's Jugband Christmas" is the timeless story of young Emmett and his Ma. Emmett's Pa (a snake oil salesman!) had passed years earlier. Emmett and Ma don't have much. They live very modestly. Ma makes money from selling pies and doing laundry. Emmett takes on odd jobs whenever he can find them using his Pa's old tool chest. As Christmas approaches, both Emmett and Ma want to buy something special for each other...but neither of them has much money. Without the other knowing, they each enter a talent contest in hopes of winning the money to buy that special gift. "Emmett Otter" is about sacrifice and taking chances. I know it's a cliche', but this special is a real heartwarmer. It's loaded with memorable songs sung by Emmett, Ma, and of course Emmett's Jugband. There's plenty of humor to be found too - as there is in all Jim Henson's work. Considering it was produced in 1977, there's some pretty impressive "Muppetting" going on in this special - including a guest spot by Kermit riding a bike...and Emmett and Ma rowing a boat in actual water. And since it was produced in 1977, of course there's some NOT so good muppetting too! - But that's OK - it all adds up to one really great family-friendly Christmas special!

You're not likely to come across "Emmett Otter's Jugband Christmas" on TV - but lucky for us it IS available on DVD. Do yourself a favor and pick it up this weekend!

I'll get to the other Christmas special in my "BIG 3" before Christmas...but that's a blog for another day!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

"What The Hell Is Brett Favre Doing Here ?"

Here I am in our basement...Sunday Night Football Lions @ Packers on ESPN...Seacrest counting down the top 40 songs of the week on WAYV...and, of course, I'm blogging. TV is ON...WAYV is ON...Computer is ON. BTW, the washer and dryer are going too...and the phone just rang. That's what I call multitasking!

The girls are in bed...and my wife has no interest in watching Brett Favre unless it's in the movie "There's Something About Mary" I'm hanging out down here. BTW that's a REALLY funny film - and I think Brett Favre has the most comical line in the whole movie. Brett walks in to Mary's apartment where all Mary's suitors are fighting over her. Matt Dillon's character asks, "What the hell is Brett Favre doing here?"- To which Brett Favre replies, "I'm in town to play the Dolphins, you dumbass." I love that!

I just e-mailed Mike & Diane with tomorrow's WAYV Christmas Song Of The Day. So they know it NOW if you want to try and pry it out of them! or I'll even give you a special heads-up. The song will play tomorrow between 10 and 11am and again on my show between 3 and 4pm. ;-)

Brett Favre just completed a pass, and Seacrest is about to crack the top 20. My night is heating up!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Perfect Gift

"Boys are SO HARD to shop for. If you are a woman reading this then you can sympathize. If you are a man, HELP A GIRL OUT WILL YA??!!!" - Heather DeLuca, 95.1 WAYV

I read the above in Heather's blog. I had no idea women had trouble buying gifts for men. I thought it was the other way around! Men are usually very transparent when it comes to things they want. Actually women probably are too but we men don't pay attention or listen all that well. Anyway - here's my fail-safe, fool-proof, you-can't-go-wrong gift advice to women looking to buy something for the man in their life...

Men usually have a few things they're REALLY interested in. You've probably realized that when most guys are into something...they're REALLY into something. It could be golf, it could be Eagles football, it could be cars, it could be the Rolling Stones...whatever. Just find one of those things and aim your money in that direction. If your guy is an Eagles fan for example, you can buy him Eagles related gifts for the rest of his natural born life. Trust me. He won't mind. Once you hit on something he's really into, feel free to go back to that well year after year.

Take me for example. I have put all of the gift buyers in my life on notice that if they buy me a football jersey - doesn't matter what team - for every gift giving occassion for the rest of my life I'll be a very happy guy. It's my birthday? Jersey. Merry Christmas? Jersey. You'd like to congratulate me on my Nobel Peace Prize? Jersey! I'm a huge football fan and I collect buying for me is a no-brainer.

What's his favorite movie? Favorite actor? Favorite athlete? Favorite band? Favorite TV show? Autographed items are always good. Collectibles...memorabilia...etc. You get the idea! Use Ebay - you can find anything there!

I hope this helps! Good luck - Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Merry Christmas Charlie Brown !

Here's a picture of what currently resides on top of the TV in our family room. Back in 1995, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of "A Charlie Brown Christmas", Hallmark released a limited quantity of these Peanuts Christmas ornaments. A different ornament became available each week for 4 weeks leading up to Christmas. I'm a huge Peanuts fan from way back - so my Mom figured (correctly) that these would make a great gift for me.

"A Charlie Brown Christmas" was on ABC last night and - just like every December preceding this one - I watched it from start to finish. I've got it on DVD, but there's something special about watching it when it's on TV, you know? If you missed it last night, mark down December 16th on your calendar because that's the next time you can catch it on ABC. "A Charlie Brown Christmas" delivers the true message of Christmas - something that most "Christmas" TV specials do not. Not to say that guys like Rudolph and Frosty don't have their place - because they certainly do...but the message in "Charlie Brown" makes that TV special...well...special! It's certainly got its funny moments too. I love when Charlie Brown is introduced to the gang as the director of the Christmas play and he's greeted with cheers from everyone...except we can hear one voice booing him...SNOOPY! Funny stuff.

It's been 40 years since "A Charlie Brown Christmas" first hit the air. To commemorate, there's a brand new music CD out with cover versions of all the songs in the special. From what I've heard of the songs on the commercial, it sounds good. But for me - you gotta have the original soundtrack! Vince Guaraldi provided the music not only for this "Charlie Brown" special, but also for the Thanksgiving and Easter ones. You can find the "A Charlie Brown Christmas" soundtrack on CD in pretty much anywhere the sell CDs. I also recommend "Charlie Brown's Holiday Hits" which contains music from ALL the Peanuts holiday specials.

ALL that being said--there are two OTHER holiday TV specials like I like just as much as "A Charlie Brown Christmas"! - But that's a blog for another day!

More snow in the WAYV Al Roker forecast for Thursday night & Friday morning. We'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

White Tuesday !

I LOVE when it snows - and when I heard yesterday's WAYV Al Roker forecast I was pretty excited! Al was right on with his forecast of 3-6 inches for most of South Jersey.

I grew up in Eatontown, NJ - about an hour and 10 minutes North of Atlantic City. Being a little further North it tends to snow a bit more there than it does here. Anyway, I remember as a kid constantly checking out the windows of our house for snowflakes anytime there was snow in the forecast. At night it was always tough to tell if it was snowing or not since it was dark out - so I would go look out our kitchen door and turn on the outside light to illuminate any snow that was falling. What a beautiful site! It was even more beautiful when I would turn on the radio in the morning and hear the announcer say, "Eatontown Schools are CLOSED". That would usually be followed by a huge sigh of relief from me. You see, if there was snow in the forecast, many times I would roll the dice and NOT do my homework. I figured if school was going to be closed, I'd have an extra day to get my work done! Of course there were many times I got burned using that philosophy when a big snow storm would move out to sea or the snow would turn to rain.

I don't ski. I don't sled (anymore!). I don't ice skate. But I still LOVE the snow. It's got a way of covering up all the messes we've made with a blanket of newness. The world just seems like a more peaceful place when it's snowing.

When you work in radio, there's no such thing as a "snow day". We HAVE to be here rain, snow, hurricane, whatever! And it's our pleasure to do it! I'm just glad I'm not Mike & Diane...having to brush the snow off their cars at 4 in the morning!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Football Sunday

I LOVE Sundays during football season. My wife's got a pot of gravy and sausage on the stove...she's making a homemade pizza...we've got some baked ziti with alfredo sauce...and I'm loaded up with a couple of bags of my all-time favorite chips - Cool Ranch Doritos! BTW I think there's a football game or two (or 15) on.

So much for the snow we were supposed to get last night. We DID get a little - but it was pretty much all gone by the time I went out to get the paper this morning. BTW there is more snow in the WAYV Al Roker forecast this week - and Mike & Diane are FIRST in South Jersey with all the local school closings - so tune in 95.1 every morning for the latest!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Cross Another One Off The List !

I spent my afternoon hanging up our outdoor Christmas lights. It's cold out there! All went reasonably well...besides the usual problems with individual lights not working thus rendering the whole string useless. Anyway, I finally got everything the way I want it and the true test will be whether or not they come on in an hour or so when the timer is supposed to trigger them. I'm hoping for the best.

TONIGHT I get to cross another name off the list. One of the perks of doing what I do for a living is that I get to go to lots of concerts. And honestly I have seen pretty much all the biggest names in the history of pop music - McCartney, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Rolling Stones, U2 - and just about every one of my personal favorites too - Sting, Loggins, J. Geils Band...There are only a couple left on my list of artists I have to see...and I was able to cross off Stevie Wonder earlier this year when I caught his AMAZING show at the Taj. Tonight...It's NEIL DIAMOND!

My Mom is a big Neil Diamond fan so we had some of his records around the house when I was a kid. I guess that's how I really got introduced to his music. I was able to send her and my Dad to a Neil Diamond show a few years back and it made me very happy to be able to do it. Anyway, Neil has been making music for 40 years now and it seems his stuff is getting more critically acclaimed as he gets older. I think he's 64 now and he just released a 4-star CD. I don't know about you, but when I'm 64 I'm not planning on doing much of anything other than being retired! He's got a full catalog of hits to pull from so hopefully I'll here lots of my faves tonight...Cracklin' Rosie...America...Forever In Blue Jeans...Girl, you'll Be A Woman Soon - the list goes on and on.

Many thanks to my friend Jim who secured the tickets for us. If you're lucky enough to have a ticket, maybe I'll see you at Boardwalk Hall tonight!

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Ultimate Meatball

It's 8:00 at night and I'm still burping up meatballs! In case you missed it, in honor of the big eating competition happening at Carmine's @ The Quarter @ Tropicana this weekend, we had our friends at Carmine's bring in three trays of giant meatballs for the first ever WAYV Airstaff Meatball Challenge - LIVE on the Mike & Diane morning show.

The meatballs we ate this morning, while very tasty, were actually bigger than the ones they use in the real competition. We estimated they were roughly the size of a cue ball in billiards. Heather, Karin, Mike, and I were the participants.

First up were Intern Karin and Heather DeLuca. Heather had been touting the fact that she was Italian for the last couple of days to try and convince us she would have a good showing. We love Heather - but one thing I've learned is that Heather is ALL TALK when it comes to these eating challenges (which she knows)! Understand that Heather is very petite. Her stomach is probably smaller than one of Carmine's meatballs. She's always up for the challenge though which makes it fun. Anyway - Karin blew her out...and honestly I was really impressed by how many meatballs Karin put away! She said she was less worried about beating Heather and more worried about setting the bar high for Mike - with whom she has a very competitive relationship. She tallied six full meatballs to Heather's 1.5 (boooo!)

Next up were Mike and me. I felt fairly confident that I would be able to beat Mike since I'm a very big eater and I outweigh him by probably 40 pounds or so. Anyway, he gave me a run for my money - but I think he was more concerned with beating Karin...which he about one bite!

Here are the final results!

Paul "The Ultimate Meatball" - 7 meatballs
Mike Richman - 6.01 meatballs
Intern Karin - 6 meatballs
Heather DeLuca - 1.5 meatballs (boooooo!)
...Honorary sister station contestant: Rob Garcia - 5.5 meatballs

Thanks again to our friends at Carmine's for the delicious food. In addition to the MBs, we also had some really good garlic bread/pizza bread dipped in olive oil and some tiramasu (sp?) for dessert. Nothing like Italian food for breakfast.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Me & Kelly Clarkson

Here's a shot I like of me and Kelly Clarkson after an interview backstage at Borgata before our "WAYV Presents Kelly Clarkson" concert! Funny story...

Mike, Diane, Intern Karin, and I were waiting to meet someone from Kelly's management team outside the doors to Borgata's Event Center around 3pm the day of the show. There's no one around as we're in a restricted area. A tiny girl, 20-something, dressed very casually in baggy cargo pants a sweatshirt and baseball cap comes up the escalator with another woman rouighly twice her age. Karin jokes, "here comes Kelly now" - we all knew she was kidding because why would Kelly be just walking around the place? I figured it was someone lost trying to find their way to their room. Anyway, it turnd out it WAS Kelly...and her Mom. I decided not to introduce myself - as I didn't want to bother her before our scheduled Mike & Diane interview. After meeting her later on I came to the conclusion that she wouldn't have minded anyway. They walked right passed us and tugged on a set of doors trying to enter the Event Center. They were locked. They tried some other doors. Locked. One more set of doors. Locked! They finally got in - but it was kind of comical to think KELLY CLARKSON couldn't get into what was supposed to be her own soundcheck!