Blog Archives

My 5-Year (& Counting) Plan of Steel

“The Value of the Dollar is Rising in the American Restaurant.”

This was the first headline on Jimmy’s Daily Planet exactly five years ago on July 13, 2012. And the purpose of my debut blog post was to shine a light on the burgeoning reality of small bites and, therefore, lower prices per quality food item in American restaurants for still struggling restaurant owners and customers in equal measure.

We live in the era where a bag of skittles costs $1, a trip to the movies forces one to contemplate his or her finances and best of all, a large…I mean a venti, at Starbucks is almost $2.00! Who else remembers, “The best part of wakin’ up is Folgers in your cup.” Making our own coffee…it was a simpler time then.

The point is everyday expenses have skyrocketed well beyond reality. We laugh at our grandparents and parents for speaking nostalgically about getting a $.10 hamburger and an ice cream cone for a nickel…Today, it really gives new meaning to the term “The Greatest Generation.” Fear not, this is not an article about business finances related to the rising costs of food. This is about how White Castle has set the food trend that is here in to stay in America for a long, long, long time.

White Castle is famous for its sliders. Small burgers that alone may not be completely filling at around $.45 apiece, but when ordered in packs of four or more certainly can cure a hungry appetite. This is where we are now. Americans are in the “Slider Era.” I don’t mean that every food item will be a small burger, but the slider concept is alive and well and has taken on all sorts of variations. From burgers to lobster roll sliders, restaurants all over are creatively adapting. Chefs of all kinds have realized more than ever that their bottom line is directly linked to their customers. Eating out together today more closely resembles eating out together as a family going to McDonald’s when the Golden Arches first shined bright in suburban Chicago, Illinois, with the Dollar Menu as one example. To be clear, this is a great thing! We are in this together, and restaurants are stepping up.

From White Castle to a sushi joint to Ed’s Lobster Bar Annex in the lower east side of New York city, people are becoming increasingly aware that sharing a few small plates or appetizers together is more fun (economically and socially) than always ordering a large meal and an expensive drink. Order smaller items, but more of them.

At Yogi Perogi in Grandview, Ohio, each perogi ranges from $1.75-$2.50. With just two or three, that’s easily lunch. That not only could be a new lunch spot, but also an expanded palate, as was the case with me. With all prices relative to its location and quality, a lobster roll slider at Ed’s Lobster Bar Annex in NYC is $5, three lobster tacos are $12 and a lobster burger slider is $5. Again, three of these plus an order of fries ($6, but remember it can be split if you’re eating out with friends or family…and it’s quite a few fries) are sufficient for a meal. This is all especially good when you realize the signature lobster roll alone goes for $27.

Simply put: Less is more.

Has the reality I blogged about five years ago relating to the restaurant industry changed dramatically?

Interestingly, no.

It’s a bit surreal to reflect back to writing my first blog post on this new website I built using WordPress called Jimmy’s Daily Planet, which is a nod to Clark Kent’s human job as a reporter at The Daily Planet. There’s also the simultaneous gentle tip of the cap to Daily Planet photographer Jimmy Olsen and my first name being Jimmy.

I couldn’t even think a couple years into the future, let alone five, to imagine what this personal hobby would or could become. What I do know is that I love writing and communicating in my own style and voice. There’s no point in writing or speaking like other people. And this blog has provided me with the amazing opportunity to engage in reporting and telling stories, as Frank Sinatra would say, my way.

Now, what does the future hold for Jimmy’s Daily Planet?

Much like writing each blog post Monday-Friday, I’ll figure it out as I’m writing and brainstorming new topics and ways to communciate with people with clever twists and, hopefully, a bit of insight.

The gift of the fifth wedding anniversary is wood. Although, steel seems more fitting in this case…but I digress. So, how does wood connect to writing a blog? Well, wood is natural and the instincts for creating and publishing content on this blog are natural and intuitive. In a forest, for example, there are tall trees, short trees, trees with majestic branches and trees with few branches. Some trees may look alike, but every tree has its own unique characteristics. I like to think Jimmy’s Daily Planet is similar to a wooded forest in this regard.

Simply put: Saying yes to a blog has been more rewarding than I could’ve imagined five years later.  

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Richard Donner is Super, Man

Richard Donner’s 1978 cinematic masterpiece Superman is considered the greatest (and the most perfect) superhero movie ever made. That’s not just my opinion, but the opinion of some of the most influential people in the movie industry. Director Christopher Nolan said the following regarding the Richard Donnner-directed Superman.

“I said, ‘I want to do for Batman what Dick Donner did for Superman,’ ” Christopher Nolan humbly states in the opening of his nearly half-hour conversation with the director of the original “Superman.”
Kevin Jagernauth, IndieWire

Need more proof of the super genius Richard Donner showcased in that unforgettable origin story of Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman way back in the late ’70s with Christopher Reeve?

How about getting the super rivals DC Films president Geoff Johns and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige to wholeheartedly agree on the personal impact and storytelling legacy of 87-year-old Richard Donner and, specifically, that Superman film (a priceless DC property)?

Some of Hollywoods biggest stars, in front of the camera and behind the camera, gathered together recently to celebrate and honor the unforgettable work of the legendary director and producer Richard Donner at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Los Angeles. Actors and actresss from his most popular movies were in attendance, including the primary cast of Lethal Weapon and the kids from The Goonies.

Here are a few of Richard Donner’s films/credits:

  • The Omen (1976)
  • Superman (1978)
  • Superman II (1980)
  • The Goonies (1985)
  • Lethal Weapon (1987)
  • Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)
  • Lethal Weapon 3 (1992)
  • Maverick (1994)
  • Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)

This celebration of Mr. Donner’s work reaffirms the belief (and I’m a firm believer in the following) that a cinematic masterpiece does not always require mind-blowing special effects or the biggest explosions or the use of bad language for the sake of using bad language for that edge or street cred. Sometimes, a great movie just requires a hero people can believe in who struggles with similar issues and moral dilemmas as the people watching in theaters and at home.

That, above all, is Richard Donner’s storytelling legacy. In this sense, Richard Donner is a super man superman.

Four Years Later & I’m Still Looking to the Horizon

Exactly 1/10th of a score and two years ago (4 years total), I started Jimmy’s Daily Planet.

Paying homage to the greatest (albeit fictional) newspaper of all-time, The Daily Planet, this blog was founded on my love of my favorite superhero and disguised human of all-time: Superman and Clark Kent. The scene from Richard Donner’s 1978 classic Superman that showed us Christopher Reeve as Clark Kent walk through the bullpen of The Daily Planet for the first time was the moment I knew I wanted to be a journalist. The chaos, palpable energy and big city, skyscraper setting flew from the screen and landed directly into my impressionable imagination.

These few minutes showing reporters preparing to get the scoop, watching exciting individual and group dynamics (papers scattered, people typing, talking and moving) and hearing creative storytelling pitches is arguably my favorite journalistic hook.

I wrote my first blog post (Eight Years Later & We Look to the Horizon) about what the next Facebook would be in the future. The “next big thing”/new dominant social platform hasn’t arrived yet to eclipse Mark Zuckerberg’s social network from his days at Harvard.

This revelation will be realized, it just hasn’t happened quite yet.

One of the questions in blog #1 was whether or not we are an app generation? That answer has not conclusively been determined since July 13, 2012, but people seem to be embracing a hybrid. This translates to using popular sites and social media platforms (ie-Facebook) while simultaneously choosing a diverse selection of acutely personalized social media apps.

The best answer for July 13, 2016 is that we are a splintered population (or customer base) concerning our use of social media and digital applications (sorry, apps). Individualism rules.

What’s next?

That’s still the question. Not the question that Shakespeare wrote for his brilliant play “Hamlet.” Although, in a way, it sort of is. “To be, or not to be – that is the question.” Who will we be in the near future? How will someone revamp our already complex and extensive communicative grid? How will we change as a result? This very idea is thrilling to cogitate because, as Americans, we know a newfangled innovation will collide with destiny. And destiny is a very good friend with this country.

“I know something big and new is coming because that is the American tradition of big sky-big idea dreamers. Until then, start drawing on your dorm room window and think big, plain and simple.”

That’s the final paragraph of my first blog post on Jimmy’s Daily Planet. I remember writing that four years ago and I still believe it’s true today, whatever the wildly crazy idea or dream may be.

Plain and simple.

The Ultimate Superhero Face-Off?

Wednesday is a wonderful day to wonder about what could have been. For instance, what if Nicolas Cage was cast as Superman?

Before you start laughing too loudly, this was, at one point in the late ’90s, a legitimate conversation.

supermanlives2.0.0

The rumored title of the movie was Superman Lives. Probably not the best title in the off-chance it wouldn’t get made (check) because of the obvious counter headline for reporters: Superman’s Dead.

C’mon screenwriters, that was too much of a lay-up.

However, thanks to creative video editing, YouTube user “Epic Wolf Films” has given fans a glimpse into what Nicolas Cage would look like as Superman in the Dawn of Justice.

As absurd as it is, Nicolas Cage is still 7 kinds of crazy awesomeness. He’s certainly not my pick to play Superman, the greatest superhero in history, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t not watch the movie in the trailer above…

The film could be titled Superman: A National Treasure.

It’s quite the declaration, but Superman is a character with a certain degree of independence.