We’ve Moved!

August 28, 2010

With the launch of the all new KLIN.com, the Jack & John Blog has also moved.

You can now find our latest blogs as well as the show podcast and a whole lot more at the all new KLIN.com.

Our older blog posts will still be found here, but all new posts are now at the new website.

Thanks for checking in with us!



August 27, 2010

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In Honor of First Day of School Eve

August 17, 2010

We decided to bring back an oldie, but a goodie.  Ok, it’s actually not that good, but it was so bad it was hillarious.  But given that the kids are all heading back to school tomorrow, we though it a good time to bust this one out.

Jack sang his elementary alma mater’s school song, “Thank You For May Morley” back in 2008, and the guys all were baffled by the fact that a K-6 school chose an ABBA tune to use as a template to engender school spirit.

If you’re listening really hard, you may even catch a little Charlie Brogan in there.   Now that’s OLD SCHOOL.

Tuesday Top 5: Top National Fast Food Chains

August 10, 2010

Every Tuesday, Jack & John rank their top 5 somethings, and the categories have no bounds.  Then, they take the discussion to the air Wednesdays starting at 8:20.  Your input is encouraged both on the blog and on-air.  Share your own top 5, criticize theirs, or get in-depth with the discussion.

Jack & John frequently will have a healthy lunch together. While John continues to feed his face, Jack points to an adjacent table and asks if the customer is "gonna eat that?"

OK, so back in March we did “Munch Madness”, and local favorites like Amigos, Val’s and Runza did battle for the crown of the best signature culinary item in the city.  Well, on today’s Tuesday Top 5, we’re going national.  We want to hear your top 5 favorite nationwide fast food chains.  If there’s any confusion about where the line should be drawn between ‘regional’ and ‘national’ or ‘casual dining’ and ‘fast food’, we’ll use this page as a resource.  If your favorite is under the listing for the U.S., it can be ranked.

Now, Bish is on vacation this week, so Jack’s top five are posted below, and we’ll have Chris Whitney weigh in on both the blog and on-air on Wednesday.

Jack’s Top 5:

1.  Chipotle: I don’t know if it’s the sleek decor, the trendy loud music, the assembly line-like nature of ordering, or the fact that the burritos are as big as my 2-week old daughter, but I’m more than willing to put up with the long lines downtown and the general messiness that goes along with eating here whenever possible.

2.  Culver’s: I often ask myself if I’d like Culvers as much if it weren’t for the custard.  I still don’t have an answer to that.  I think the thing that keeps bringing me back is that at Culver’s, unlike most restaurants, I don’t have that one go-to order that I get every time I’m there.  For some reason, this place actually gives me and my set-in-my-ways style freedom to mix it up a little bit.  Plus, I know we’re talking instant heart attack, but I’ll pretty much take fried cheese curds anytime, anyplace.

3.  Raising Cane’s: I don’t think there are a lot of people that would deny this is the best any fast food restaurant has done with the concept of chicken fingers by leaps and bounds, but the thing that I really love (and didn’t even like at first) is the pure simplicity of the ordering process.  There’s not 27 value meals to pick from or 4 different “dollar menus” of which you need to keep track.  There are 4 different things you can get.  That’s it.  It makes the lines go quicker, makes me less stressed out, and it just works.

4.  Jimmy John’s: While I’m still put off everytime I walk in one of these places and the 37 teenagers working there all say “hi” in unison, there’s something to be said for knowing you’re going to get your food in less than 2 minutes from walking in the door.  Plus, sandwich shops are a dime a dozen, and again, I’m not a big fan of the complicated ordering situations, particularly at sandwich shops, so I actually like that I don’t have to go through and tell them every single ingredient I want.

5.  Burger King: This is kind of a novelty spot because it only a very small portion of BK’s offering.  Breakfast.  I’m pretty sure that when the Croissanwich debuted in the early 80s, it was one of the greatest things ever, ushering in the concept of breakfast through the drive-through (I think McDonalds was first, but their offerings don’t hold a candle to BK’s).  They’ve also added in the little hash brown bites which are superior to the single checkbook-sized hash brown McDonald’s offers in every way.  I can’t tell you how many times on  fall Saturday mornings during in my early 20s the very first thing I did was hit the local BK and spend the next hour slowly eating a Sausage Croissanwich or two while watching College Gameday.

John’s Top 5:

Vacation or not, I’m not one to let a food debate go unchecked.  Besides, this one is a real toughy.  While the cereal top 5 was easy to come up with, this one is not so easy.  First, there isn’t a “bad” fast food that I have had.  Sure I’ve had some bad experiences at certain stores, but they have been made up for with several trips to good stores.  I am ruling out pizza places right off the bat.  To me “fast food” is burgers, sandwiches, chicken and tacos.  I am also disqualifying a few places that appear on the list Jack provided.  If a waitress comes to your table to take your order, that is NOT fast food.  You go to a counter, you order and you generally receive your food in less than 5 minutes.  That may be a liberal definition, but that will qualify as “fast food.”  So even though I clamor for these two restaurants to come to Lincoln, Waffle House and my beloved Steak n Shake do not make the cut using this criteria.  But they are still damn good.  I am also not going to rate solely on the taste of the food, for reasons that will be apparent as you read along.

1) Schlotzsky’s.  There is bias here.  This was the first job I held after moving to Lincoln and a place where I met some great, lifelong friends, one of whom still runs the only remaining Schlotzsky’s in town (27th & Holdrege.)  But it is also, hands down, the best tasting sandwich in Lincoln.  Subway?  Ok, but tastes like it’s made on an assembly line.  Jimmy John’s?  Good, but I’ve had that sandwich before.  It’s called Little King.   But Schlotzsky’s is unique.  The sourdough buns are fantastic (I recommend the rye.)  Most of your meats, cheeses and veggies are the same so for a sandwich, the bread is the difference-maker.  The other difference-maker is how you assemble the sandwich.  Schlotzsky’s was toasting their “Original” long before most places figured out that a hot sandwich combines the flavors of the meat, cheese and bread better than slapping things together cold.  I’ve never had a bad Schlotzsky’s.  Even the vegetarian sandwich.  But I highly recommend an Original on rye with a splash of their hot sauce.  Awesome.

2) Wendy’s.  Best “fast food” burger.  I always thought a burger was more than ketchup, mustard, pickles.  Give me tomatoes!  Give me onions!  Give me lettuce!  I remember when Wendy’s first came to Fremont.  I was probably the only 8 year old who liked his single with “everything.”  I can also remember complaining when the “extras” started sliding out from between the buns.  But with maturity (and larger hands), I have since controlled my hamburger.  Then add their thick-cut fries and the kick-ass Frosty.  Boom!  Fast food perfection.

3) Taco John’s.  Since coming to Lincoln, Amigos has taken over as my choice for fast food Mexican (with Taco Inn a close second).  But because these two are “local” fast food, they are DQ’ed from this list.  That doesn’t diminish from Taco John’s.  Sure the tacos are thin and flimsy.  Sometimes they are overly greasy.  For some reason, they are very tasty.  I think a lot of that comes from their hot sauce which, along with Arby’s Sauce, is as close to crack cocaine as is legally possible.  Then you add in the Potato Oles, which gave tator tots new life.  Once in a while, I’ll go with a burrito or nachos, but the best meal is the Six Pack & a Pound.  Back in college, this was Sunday dinner.  Kick back with six hardshells, a buttload of Oles and some ESPN Sunday Night Football.  Yeah!  Today, I might be able to do four tacos and a half-buttload of Oles.  Just make sure I have at least 8 packs of hot sauce.

4) Dairy Queen.  Like Jack’s selection of BK, this pick is done on one thing only.  Perhaps the simplest, yet most addicting dessert known to mankind.  It is sweet treat perfection in just three words.  Peanut.  Buster.  Parfait.  Blizzards are fine.  Banana Splits are great.  Everyone loves a good malt or shake.  But if DQ just sold the PBP, that’s all they ever need.  DQ’s famous soft serve, topped with Spanish peanuts, topped with hot fudge.  Holy crap, I’m drooling…..

5) McDonald’s.  This choice was very difficult.  Wendy’s has the better burger.  Burger King has a better burger (but their fries are atrocious.)  But McD’s makes the cut because there’s not a fast food I have had more times than theirs.  It’s the power of marketing and of having one seemingly located at just the right place at the right time.  Seriously.  When I am in a hurry or on a road trip, it seems like the Golden Arches are always right there when you need them.  While I still prefer the Wendy’s have-a-salad-bar-on-top-of-your-burger concept, McDonalds works without the “extras.”  In fact, every time they try to copy the Wendy’s single or the BK Whopper (see Arch Deluxe or McDLT), it falls flat.  There’s something about a McDonald’s hamburger that just has to be simple.  A Quarter Pounder is just as good today as it was 20 years ago.  For that, Ronald McDonald gets extra credit.

Chris’s Top 5:

Ok, this might catch a lot of grief—and rightfully so, but hear me out. We don’t have any Waffle Houses near Lincoln for quite a distance—the closest is in Kansas City I think. But once you get south of Kansas City, you can’t shake a stick without seeing them. The menu is pretty simple, but it’s a place that has heart. You’ll see people from everywhere—and I mean everywhere—at a Waffle House, no matter what time of day you’re there. It’s a little kitschy, but the jukebox, the ordering process, and the kindness of the waitresses have always made for a good dining experience for this guy. That and they have awesome omelettes.

I will preface this by saying I have only been to Qdoba once, it was after a grueling day of ultimate last summer in Omaha. I’d heard all about it from my Omaha friends so I figured it was worth a shot. To this day, the quesadilla I scarfed down was a thing they write novels about. The flavors were just right, the dipping sauce was fantastic and the guacamole was perfect. Granted a quesadilla isn’t too hard to perfect–or at least do well–but Qdoba did the job and then some. I fear if I go back it will spoil what was one of the better dining experiences in recent memory. Am I over the top here? Maybe. But it was good. Number four good.

I rarely go to Sonic, but when I’ve gone, I’ve never been disappointed and always thought to myself “I should really be going here more often.” First off, the menu is incredible. They used to have this ‘Hickory Burger’ that was loaded up with BBQ sauce that was a sure get every time. Plus, their shakes, malts, slushies are always good on a hot day. And I haven’t even gotten to the coney dogs yet. Very solid entry at number three, I look at it as a special occasion when I go for some reason since their Lincoln locations are pretty far from my neck of the woods.

We discussed putting them up for the Munch Madness extravaganza, but alas they fell short. I used to work at Hy-Vee making pizzas and for awhile, Godfather’s was the only one I would eat besides the ones I’d make for myself at the V. They have a great large  one-topping pizza special on Mondays/Tuesdays for $5.50 that is one of the better deals around in terms of quantity and quality. My reason for the #2 ranking? The taco pizza. It has stood the test of time and it always hits the spot. While it is a chain, it kind of had the neighborhood feel to it as well whether it was going in my days growing up or even going back now as an adult.

I tried not to duplicate anything Jack had put up here since there’s a ton to choose from, but Jimmy John’s proved to be undeniable. Yes, they really do make sandwiches so fast you’ll freak. A buddy of mine worked there for a spell in college and it was incredible to see the sandwich artists go to work. Even if it’s busy, you’ll get a sandwich in good time and I’ve yet to find a sandwich I don’t like from their menu. Plus they deliver. That, and now that they have a ton of Lincoln locations, it’s like a reward for frequenting their then-only location at 14th and O for so long.

WEDNESDAY MORNING EDIT (from Jack):  I realize the list I provided from wikipedia is flawed.  Not only does Bish make some valid criticisms, but it appears that a few original Lincoln joints (Runza, Amigos) are on the list, and the goal was to stay away from those.  My new criteria is that in order to be a “national” fast food chain, it needs to appear in half of the United States.  I realize people generally don’t have that data, but it provides a general guideline.

Tuesday Top 5: Best Syndicated Shows in TV History

August 3, 2010

On Today’s incarnation of Jack & John’s Tuesday Top 5, we rank our favorite TV shows that show or showed reruns in syndication.  Now, to be clear, this is a different animal than a simple list of “favorite TV shows” in several ways. Obviously, the shows on our lists must be currently or previously have reruns shown in syndication on a regular basis. More importantly, however, in order to be successful, the show not only needs to be good, but must also have a long shelf-life.  In other words, it can’t feel dated even if it the episode originally aired 10 or more years ago, and you’ve got to be able to watch the same episodes of these shows over and over again without boredom setting in.  So it should be clear, the best TV shows don’t always make the best syndicated TV shows. So…to the lists

John’s Top Five:

This one was a lot tougher to come up with than last week’s.  While my taste in cereals has remained relatively unchanged in 30 years, television viewing habits have not.  I’m really not into watching a lot of network television anymore unless it is live sports.  That’s mainly because of the dung heap that is “reality” television and the dramas are all “CSI”, “Law & Order” or some repackaging of lawyer/cop formulas from days gone by.  With that said, there are some classics that stand the test of time and freshness that Jack layed out in the above formula.

1) The Sopranos.  My all time favorite television show.  I miss it badly.  Though it ran only 86 episodes, I can still watch each one again and again.  Even the edited version that runs on A&E.  It’s that (edited) good.  With so few episodes, I have to go in and out of watching the series.  I am torn as to if I want HBO to make a movie (ala “Sex and the City”) because it was so different in how they crafted the storyline.  And I am one of the few that had no issue with the abrupt ending because this wasn’t a story that can wrap things up in a nice, tidy package.

Oh, and it also gives me a chance to share this clip of Ralphie Cifaretto and his unique pronunciation of the word “whore.”  And this clip of Phil Leotardo. ***LANGUAGE WARNING***

2) The Office.  The only other show in syndication that is on my DVR.  This was one that I actually started watching in syndication before moving over to the network version.  I haven’t yet seen every episode, which is even better because once the show dies after this season (with the departure of Steve Carell), I’ll still have a show that seems fresh.

3) Seinfeld.  Prior to The Sopranos, my favorite television show.  Best comedy ever.  Cannot tell you the number of times I have quoted or relived scenes with fellow co-workers on this show.  Best supporting characters of any program.  Kramer.  Newman.  Jackie Styles.  Mr. Peterman and my personal favorite, George’s parents – especially Frank Costanza (played by Jerry Stiller.)

4) Hogan’s Heroes.  The original run ended just before I was born, but after school during my grade school years, this WWII comedy ran after school every day (Channel 3, I think.)  Unlike M*A*S*H*, which took a much more serious turn after the departure of Trapper John, Hogan’s Heroes never betrayed its comedy roots.  To this day I will quote Sgt. Schultz, Col. Klink and Major Hochstetter.  This is a show that needs a movie remake, but the key is who plays Klink and Schultz, they were the glue.  John Candy would have been great, God rest his soul.

5) Barney Miller.  Now here’s a wild card entry.  This cop comedy (along with M*A*S*H*) was a regular staple of our dinner time viewing back in the early 80’s.  It was mostly humorous, but would occasionally delve into serious subjects – not nearly as many as M*A*S*H*.  It’s been so long since I saw these episodes, that they would be fresh again.  It narrowly beats WKRP in Cincinnati due to the fact there are more episodes.  That and I practically live WKRP every day, so the freshness factor isn’t as great.

Jack’s Top Five:

1) The Muppet Show. Laugh if you will, but this is one of the most successful syndicated television shows of all-time, and if I’m truly gauging which of these shows generated the most enjoyment in my life, there’s no doubt it was the Muppet Show.  This was the kids show that was enjoyable for adults before Disney and Pixar had mastered that technique on the big screen.  Plus, this show seemed to integrate relatively prominent stars more impressively than any kids shows do now (yes, and I’m aware of when that guy from Devo was on Yo Gabba Gabba)

2) Friends. I feel like I need to apologize for this, but if I’m being honest with myself, I probably spent ten times the hours watching reruns of Monica, Chandler and the crew as compared to any other show ever in syndication.  While 15 years out, some of the episodes have the occasional uncomfortable cheese factor, I’m still not ashamed to say I still get caught up waiting for lines like “There was definite cuppage” and “We were on a break!”.

3) Dukes of Hazzard. Again, going back to my childhood a bit here, but this show seemed to translate to syndication in a way that was so smooth that I’m surprised it’s never really been able to get the run that inferior shows from the same era like Matlock and Magnum P.I. have enjoyed.  While Bo & Luke’s adventures often made for formulaic plots, that kind of reliability is often something that actually makes a show in syndication more desirable.

4) America’s Funniest Home Videos. Don’t look now, but not only is this show on in syndication a LOT, but it’s also about to kick off its 21st season of new programming as well.  That’s nothing to sneeze at, so something’s obviously working.  Now, that said, the hosts and in-studio commentary has almost been unwatchable over the years, whether it was Bob Saget, Daisy Fuentes or Tom Bergeron.  Nonetheless, I still just don’t get tired of watching little kids hit men in the groin with baseballs, golf clubs and other various items.  It’s also nice, because it’s probably the only show on television right now that I my son and I can sit down, watch together, and both enjoy.

5) Blind Date. This is a little deeper cut.  Perhaps you didn’t ever see this show, which hit its syndication stride in the late 90s/early 2000s.  It was hosted by Roger Lodge, and it was staple late-night viewing while I was in college.  Again, it was incredibly formulaic, but reality TV was still in its infancy, and this was before the Bachelor, Joe Millionaire, and all of the other scads of romance reality series, so there was something pretty fresh about cameras following an unscripted date–and the potential for the date to end up very, very well or very, very badly were equally compelling.

What did we miss?  Post your top 5 in the comments below.

Ben Nelson Defends Kagan Vote, Pledges to Stick with Dems

August 3, 2010

Senator Ben Nelson joined Jack & John in the Morning on Tuesday to talk about his  decision to oppose the nomination of Elana Kagan and to respond to recent speculation that a move to the Republican party may be in the cards.

Nelson emphatically clarified that he has no intention of leaving the Democratic party,  either to become a Republican or an Independent, saying, “you don’t leave a party, your party leaves you”.  He also provided an interesting rationale for his loyalty to the  Democratic party, saying that the Dems offer him greater leeway to take positions that  might be directly in step with the party line than the Republicans would.

Nelson on Party Switch (Audio)

Nelson also talked about his decision to oppose the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, citing “voluminous” correspondence from Nebraskans raising concerns about Kagan, so we asked him why the barrage of communication from constituents regarding his health care vote didn’t seem to hold as much sway.  Listen to his response below:

Nelson on Constituent Correspondence (Audio)

Finally, Nelson asserted that people who think the Feds have been inactive on the issue of illegal immigration haven’t been paying attention, and he indicated that he was “being told” the border will be “secured” within 6-12 months, allowing D.C. decision makers to turn their focus to dealing with the existing illegal immigrants.

You can hear the Nelson interview in its entirety here.

Show Rewind 8/2/10: Trader Joe’s Confirmation, 2 a.m. inevitability and Jack the pro eater

August 2, 2010

We got another week fired up on the show–if you missed it, here’s the recap:

-Jack bemoaned the fact that parts of Lincoln seemed to smell like a hog farm last night, but John was oblivious to the smell, so this mystery is still unsolved.

-There’s been much scuttlebutt about whether or not the trendy grocery chain Trader Joe’s is coming to South Pointe.  We got an initial look at this week’s city council agenda and saw that this afternoon TJ’s will be setting a hearing date for the liquor license application, so it appears that this is a go.  The address listed with the application is 3120 Pine Lake Road, Suite R.  Interestingly enough on the official Trader Joe’s website, it doesn’t list Lincoln as a “coming soon” location, although Omaha was on there.

-Jack will be making his competitive eating debut in the Union Bank dollar-a-dog fundraiser for the United Way and is trying to determine what his WWE-style compeitive eating stage name will be.  Suggestions included “The Litigurgitator” and the “Fartin’ Spartan”.  Jack also maintains he could easily win the competition if he wanted to, but is concerned that he’s going to make himself miserable for his birthday weekend if he ingests 20 bunless hot dogs in 5 minutes.  We’ll see if the competitive juice flare up.  If you want to see Jack do his thing live, he’ll be out at the main Union Bank branch on South 27th on Friday over the noon hour stuffing himself.

-Finally, the guys talked to City Council chair John Spatz, who has said the frequency by which he’s being contacted by bar owners in support of a 2 a.m. close time has significantly increased and now Spatz says that the 2 a.m. close time will happen eventually, he’s just not sure how soon.  He also mentioned that in the ordinance he’s suggested, the 2 a.m. close time goes through a bit of a trial period after which it would be re-evaluated by the city council before being made permanent.