Hello Again: I Have 2 of Neal Diamond’s Business Cards

Neal Diamond Atlantic Chevy CadillacI have had Neal Diamond’s business cards for a little while. Neal Diamond the car salesman who I’ve never met before, not Neil Diamond the legendary singer who I’ve also never met before.

It’s cool that Atlantic Chevrolet Cadillac gives their salespeople business cards with different Chevy models on them like the Corvette and Tahoe. I guess it’s a psychological thing to give each shopper a different card depending on what they’re looking for.

That or the dealership features different cars at different times. Either way, I’ve never been to Atlantic Chevy Cadillac not have I never met Neal Diamond.

Heck, I’ve never met Neil Diamond either. I honestly don’t know much about the singer, except that he had a cameo in Saving Silverman to help create a happy ending.

I also know his song “Red, Red Wine” was a bigger hit when done by UB40 to the point that he uses their reggae beat when singing the song live. I can rock out to some “Red, Red Wine” once in a while.

I’d never see Neil Diamond in a concert nor would I keep his song on the radio if it was playing through. Unless it’s “Red, Red Wine” sung by UB40… then that’s perfectly acceptable… if I’m in the mood for it… and there’s nothing else better on my SiriusXM satellite radio.

Business Card Count: 35,036

Tony’s Italian Kitchen: Good Pizza, Unique Business Hours

Tonys Italian KitchenIt’s been a while since I wrote about pizza. Whenever I commute to work, I pass by a place called Tony’s Italian Kitchen in Midland Park, New Jersey. It always strikes me curious since the sign for the company is on the ground due to renovations to the strip mall.

Finally, after months of it seeming not to be open during the renovation, I decided to say “what the hell” at 3 in the afternoon and get a slice of pizza as a snack.

When I walked in, the buffalo chicken pizza instantly drew my eye. And it also drew my taste buds, as it was one of the best slices of buffalo chicken I ever had since it had just the right thinness, grilled chicken and no blue cheese.

Pizza Midland Park NJThe experience was unique for a couple of reasons. First were the business hours that I saw laminated on the counter, which I thought was hilarious. It explained why sometimes the place didn’t look open and made it seem like they were real people working there.

Speaking of employees, the 4 guys there seemed to just be as relaxed as can be. When I asked for their business card to write this blog post, one guy said: “you aren’t going to sell my phone number, are you? People do that type of thing.”

I was so tempted to tell him: “no, but I’m going to write a blog post about it reviewing my experience here.” I didn’t want to freak him out and get banned for life or something. Especially since I enjoyed the buffalo chicken pizza.

Business Card Count: 35,016

Getting a Somewhat Suspect Sales Pitch at the ShopRite in Clark NJ

ShopRite Clark NJIt’s typical that companies or people set up an area in a public place to sell their wares. And this was the case when I recently did some shopping at the ShopRite in Clark, New Jersey.

I first heard the announcement of a “free gift” being available near the dairy department and decided to stay around for a while. It turns out that it was pretty intriguing since there was a sales pitch happening for an unknown product.

Note I say unknown since it wasn’t out on the table or anything and I’d probably ignore it if I saw what it was.

But first, the free gift: the Magic Spiral… which is a $5.99 value (though I got 2 for intelligently answering a question).

Magic Spiral

The Magic Spiral is designed to create continuous spiral garnishings. The back of the box showed a photo of a cucumber being spiraled in small pieces and this photo is my result… a bit different, but it looks like it got the job done.

But that was not the product the guy was selling everyone on, including this old lady that was biting onto everything until he said the price tag: the Mr. Whipster, a new take on a whisk where you press the top and the bottom part does the whisking.

It was like a live infomercial since he said “if the Mr. Whipster’s not enough, you can also get the Jr. Whipster and the Master Decorator for free!” The product was even demonstrated to show how you only need the Mr. Whipster (and not heavy cream or a mixer) to create whipped cream.

Where it gets suspicious is when I saw him pour the milk into a bowl to whisk. The milk carton was already open, which (to play devil’s advocate) I’m sure he demonstrated it more than once and the milk had to be unsealed at SOME point). However, the milk looked like it contained heavy cream.

C’mon now: I can see the catch. I get that it’s for the sake of the demonstration to see a fast result, but that could apply for TV… not a live demo. But seriously, the 3 items would normally have cost you like $80, but the offer was all 3 for just $29.95. They’d probably make good stocking stuffers or gifts for a holiday work party, but I don’t think I’d really trust the products in my kitchen.

Business Card Count: 34,988

Why I Should Have Used Inspect It Neil For My Home Inspection

Inspect It Neil KipnisSometimes, you do online research when it comes to finding someone good at doing services such as home inspections. That was the case when we used Accuracy Home Inspection.

I must not have looked well enough since Inspect It Neil did not come up on my radar. That was until he was the home inspector for the buyers of my house. He reminded me of my godfather in looks a bit, but this is about the inspection.

Neil Kipnis, who is the home inspector, asked a lot of questions. Enough questions to the point that it got annoying as the seller.

Especially his tone when I didn’t have a good response to said questions. However, I think I would have wanted that type of mentality as a buyer.

Stu Devlin, the man who I paid to inspect my house, asked questions as well. However, he didn’t note some significant things that Inspect It Neil found.

I’m not saying they would have been fixed when I bought the house, but it would have been good to know. I’ll consider using Neil Kipnis if I choose to purchase another home.

Business Card Count: 34,968

Is There a Doctor Besides Gary Misko Jr of Pemcare in the House?

Dr Gary Misko PemcareFinding a great doctor is hard to do. That’s because the perfect doctor for you takes a level of trust.

Unfortunately, I never felt that with Dr. Gary Misko of Pemcare. It’s a tricky and complex situation to be critical of a doctor since they have so much more medical knowledge than you do.

There were a few reasons I can think of why I did not feel this trust:

  1. Bedside manner. A lot of the time, he didn’t seem too interested in me as a patient. I understand that I didn’t see him too often, but it was over a 7-year span. It could be attributed to him just not being very emotional, which I can’t fault him for.
  2. Self diagnosis. I really hate to diagnose myself, but I sometimes felt like my self diagnosis was just what he went with. It could have been right, so I can’t fault that.
  3. Dropping the ball. The one time I really needed him, the ball got dropped. I had a medical issue, knew I had it and told the doctor when I needed a referral to see a specialist. He told me to come back if the symptoms keep persisting. I went back the next day and paid a 2nd set of co-pay just to get said referral I wanted to ensure I was healthy (which I am!).
  4. He’s my ex’s doctor. I first went to him since he was close by and the primary care physician of my ex and I never felt a real attachment to him.

So 2 out of the 3 big gripes I have, I’m not sure if I could fault Dr Misko for. The 3rd one is definitely on him, especially when he said “yup, that’s what happened to you medically.” The one perk was that he welcomed walk-ins and I never had to wait more than 20 minutes to be seen by him. I also never questioned his skills or credibility as a doctor.

Dr Jay StarrFor me, trust is something I don’t give very easily and very few people have my trust. I think that I’ve only really completely trusted one non-specialist doctor in my life: Dr Jay Starr, my childhood doctor.

The trust goes beyond just medical practice: it’s with friends, family and significant others. I’m blessed to have a set of people in my life that I trust, but now I need to get myself a doctor who I can trust as well.

Business Card Count: 34,920

Patria Latin Bistro: Why You Should Only Go For Drinks

Patria Latin Bistro Rahway NJI’ve been enjoying more Latin food since I met Jess. And one of the places that I tried and really enjoyed was Patria Latin Bistro in Rahway, New Jersey. And we went there a couple of times.

And the experiences were very different even though we got food and drinks both times because of one key thing: a renovation/revamp at the restaurant. It had the restaurant closed for a couple of weeks, but I didn’t know what an impact it would have on the food.

I will say that the drinks were amazing both times, specifically the Buen Amor (champagne and hibiscus liqueur with an edible flower inside the glass) and the Patria in Paris (Grey Goose melon vodka, Chambord, pineapple juice & lime juice).

The First Time

When we went pre-renovation, we ate:

  • Chorizo: paprika spiced sausage sautéed with garlic & sherry
  • Guacamole served with plantain chips
  • Pernil Asado: slow-cooked oven-roasted suckling pig served with yuca con mojo, sweet plantains & black bean sauce
  • Salmon a la Plancha: sautéed salmon with shitaki mushrooms, zucchini & fingerling potatoes in a chili pasilla malta sauce

Everything was so delicious and well-flavored. We went to go back again for a fun night and that’s when we found out Patria was closed for renovation. We eventually did.

The Second Time

Post-renovation Patria Latin Bistro was a much different experience, especially since all of the food we enjoyed was off the menu. We ate:

  • Bay scallops with olives in a romesco sauce
  • Croquettas: confit pork, dijonaise & pickled shallot conserva
  • Pork tacos
  • Yuca chorizo hash

This food this time around was very underwhelming outside of the hash side dish. We couldn’t put our finger on it at first, but then we realized what the issue in every dish was: a lack of seasoning. The main parts on each dish (scallops, croquetta, pork) tasted so bland and relied on other ingredients & sauces to make them tasty. The food was well cooked (i.e. not raw), but the taste left a lot to be desired.

Upon doing research for this blog, including digging around their Facebook page for some menu items since their website has the much more appetizing old menu, I read that they hired a new chef. I guess that explains things.

I’d go back for drinks, but make sure I have a full stomach. Or some snacks in my pockets.

Business Card Count: 34,893

Throwback: The Music Den’s Awesome Guitar Pick Business Card

Music Den Ledgewood Kinnelon NJI love unique business cards and one of the more distinct ones I’ve ever found was from The Music Den located in Ledgewood Mall and Kinnelon Mall New Jersey. I went to the Ledgewood location when I first moved out to Budd Lake so many years ago.

I was shopping for Christmas presents for my family and I knew my brother liked music & played guitar, so I decided to stop into The Music Den. I remember looking around, but I’m not sure if I bought anything from there.

The only thing I remember was grabbing their business card and thinking that it was cool that it looked like guitar picks. I realized later when organizing my cards that this card was thicker than usual and the business card contained 4 actual guitar picks in it.

Are they good guitar picks? I have no idea since I like keeping my business cards in as good of condition as possible & poking a guitar pick-sized big hole isn’t exactly the most productive way of doing so. That and the fact I can’t carry a tune if my life depended on it.

It’s actually an ingenious way to promote your company if you sell musical instruments & sheet music. Kind of think of it, I may have bought my brother sheet music for his guitar that day. I can’t recall though.

Business Card Count: 34,872

The Le Malt Experience: Classy Ambiance, Delicious Food

Le Malt Colonia NJ

One thing I love doing is going out to eat at different places. And Le Malt in Colonia, New Jersey has to be one of the more fancier places I’ve ever eaten at.

I was told by my partner that Le Malt was an experience I had to try. And so we did one night.

It looks so innocent in a strip mall, unexpectedly hiding a classy treasure inside. It looked like an old-school lounge with comfortable leather seating. I would find out later that it’s a James Beard House Featured Restaurant Lounge.

James Beard is a name I recognize from cooking shows like Top Chef, Chopped and [INSERT FOOD SHOW HERE]. So I knew I was in for a treat.

Ferrari Martini

MorimotoLe Malt Drinks

The first thing we ordered were drinks. I chose to get the above drink known as the Ferrari Martini and apparently, Le Malt partners with Ferrari in some capacity. This somehow inspired the martini I drank with mango rum, 100% pomegranate puree and an edible flower. It was smooth and delicious in every way, even the flower… though it didn’t remind me of a sports car.

My partner opted for The Morimoto. This Japanese-sounding drink contains Milagro silver tequila, agave nectar, lime, pineapple & yuzu juices and a shiso leaf. It was also pretty good (not as good as mine, but I’m not a huge tequila guy), but the highlight was the HUGE ice sphere used to cool the beverage.

Gourmet Cheese Plate

Kobe Beef SlidersLe Malt Food

As good as alcohol is, I enjoy food more. And one of my favorites is cheese, hence why ordering the Gourmet Cheese Plate was necessary. The manchego, gorgonzola, mango ginger & brie cheeses were all very tasty.

Another delight for the palate were the Kobe beef sliders. Even though there were just 2 of them, the 100% ground wagyu Japanese kobe with caramelized onion & brioche literally melted in my mouth. And the presentation on a slice of tree trunk made for a unique experience.

Last and least (not for a bad reason) were the fries that were tossed in a unique blend of the spices. Disappointingly, they ran out of truffle oil that day… otherwise, truffle fries or truffle popcorn would have been the side dish of choice.

There’s always next time… and there will definitely be one at Le Malt because of its atmosphere that inspires good conversation, romance and overall joy.

Business Card Count: 34,872

Moving Can Be a Bit More Complicated With U-Haul

Many say breaking up is hard to do. And it is. But so can moving.

Uhaul North Brunswick NJI hired movers for the last 2 moves I made since there was a delicate curio cabinet too large to be moved by myself & other people I could trust. Since that cabinet wasn’t mine (along with half the furniture moved at that time), I decided to rent a U-Haul.

I know it’s technically a moving truck, but nobody really calls it a Penske or a Budget, do they? A moving truck is always a U-Haul, like how a cotton swab is a Q-tip.

I wasn’t worried since I got the truck I wanted in advance. However, I was inconvenienced by U-Haul since I requested a pickup at the Manalapan or Marlboro location to drop off at the Edison NJ location… turns out they wanted me to go to North Brunswick.

That’s because the first location I booked was apparently my PREFERRED location. I had no idea that was a thing, but the reasoning I had to go out of my way to North Brunswick was because they didn’t have the truck to go one way.

They had the truck I wanted. But it had to come back to Manalapan, Marlboro or wherever I booked it. I don’t know how it works with certain trucks needing to be at certain places, but I guess I drew the un-preferred location card. However, I must say that General Manager Shari Osadacz at the North Brunswick location was more than helpful in getting my truck (which had VERY few miles on it) as quickly as possible.

Will this make me second guess using U-Haul for my next move? Perhaps, though I know it’s a high-class problem, but it would have been nice to have been notified the day before or maybe the website wouldn’t have let me pick that route before taking my money.

Business Card Count: 34,837

Divorced: How Steven J Kaplan Helped Me Through the Toughest Time of My Life

This is not how I pictured my life going. The fact that I’m officially divorced at 31 is very bittersweet.

My dream was to be married only once (since my parents got divorced when I was 12 or 13), have a family and grow old with my wife. It took a while, but I’ve mourned and accepted that loss for the sake of my happiness.

My Lawyer

Steven J KaplanSteven J Kaplan was recommended to me by a trusted source, so I went to meet with him. Right away, he gave me assurance that the divorce process would be simple and straightforward (legally of course, emotionally was much different).

With his over 25 years of experience, Kaplan talked me through the whole process step by step and how everything would work. He knew that I wanted as little emotional/financial damage as possible (that came into play of course), so he took that into consideration.

He made me feel so reassured by laying everything out. Him telling me “I’ve never seen ______ in my 25+ years of practicing law” a couple of times made me feel a lot better about the divorce.

From the retainer process through the final judgment, Steven took all of the legal stress away from me and that’s priceless. He told me I didn’t have to stay for getting the hardcopy of the paperwork, which was nice since I cried the whole drive home.

The Next Phase of My Life

With everything being over, I’m choosing to put the pain and bitterness behind me. I’m going to heed the advice of the judge and remember the good times. And I’m grateful to Beth for them and being there for me in my darkest hours when my Dad passed away suddenly & I got laid off twice.

The divorce also made it clear that I needed to work on other relationships in my life with family and friends. And work on finding myself more with my wrestling and other bucket list I want to pursue.

And I’m blessed enough to start the next chapter of my life alone, as I met Jess in 2016. She has been somebody I can lean on with all of the bad feelings I’ve had and share the good & bad times of life with.

We fell for each other really fast & hard… and I couldn’t be happier. I’m more than willing to walk through life by myself because I love who I am (and will become), but would prefer to have her by my side.

I’m taking the lessons learned from my marriage and applying them to all aspects of my life. The next phase of my life is just the beginning, but I highly doubt that I’ll ever get married again. I believe I can have a lifelong partnership and start a family without being bound by the legalities of marriage, seeing as how at least half of marriages end in divorce anyhow.

I ran a little off the rails of my lawyer Steven J Kaplan, but there are just things I wrote out that I needed to see the text of (not just in my head) that are here for you to read and others I released without publishing.

Business Card Count: 34,792