Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Final Out at Shea Stadium

No major post today...just a moment of silence. Here's the last pitch and out at Sunday's Met game taken from my phone. You can hear the crowd go nuts as it looks like it might be a homerun. I love the guy who screams "Oh my God!!!!!". That's me at the end shouting "set up the stage!" in anticipation of the lame ceremony they were having after the game.

Oh well...rest in peace old friend

Shea Stadium
1964-2008


video

Ranking the McDonalds Characters



Like most kids, I believed in Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, and the Easter Bunny. I also believed in Ronald McDonald and anytime it was announced that he was going to make an appearance at a local McDonald's, I was all over it. But then my fear of clowns would kick so I never got to see him. I did enjoy him and his goofy companions from afar though and this post is dedicated to them.

Top 5 McDonald's Characters:

5.) Birdie the Early Bird -



I really have no idea what the supporting cast of Ronald McDonald represented. Some are easily more definable than others. Birdie the Early Bird falls into the "hard to define" category. I'm assuming she promoted the breakfast side of McDonald's (and nothing beat a tasty "Big Breakfast" meal back in 1987). However, now that I think of it, early birds are supposed to get the early worms. Though no worms have never been found in a McDonald's meal, it would appear that Birdie is not a good mascot.

4.) The Fry Kids -



These guys make perfect sense. They look like fries and chicken nuggets, and they babble on unintelligibly. It looks like they were always having a grand old time but sadly, I would imagine that they all died by the age of 20 due to high cholesterol and four blocked arteries. They probably had really bad acne too.

3.) Ronald McDonald -



For what its worth, he is an icon. His red hair and yellow jump suit match the colors of the famous Arches logo. Being a clown, he's friendly to most kids...(not me though). He STILL makes a lot of promotional appearances (I saw him a few months ago at a local McDonald's and he was swamped by little kids). Mysteriously, I've never seen a Ronald McDonald actually sample some of the food at the restaurant he calls his namesake.

2.) The Hamburglar -




Again, his character makes little sense. Is he promoting children to STEAL hamburgers from a local MacDonald's? His little getup is interesting too as I've never seen a burglar with a cape much less a prison outfit. His hat intrigues me as well...


1.) Grimace -



Good old Grimace. The Destro to Cobra Commander, the Iron Hide to Optimus Prime, Grimace seems to be Ronald McDonald's best friend and close confidant. Again, Grimace doesn't look anything like something you can find on the McDonald's menu unless you ate 10 Big Macs along with some purple food coloring. Then maybe, you could create your own Grimace in your bathroom. The closest I think of is a hash brown but I'm writing that more because I'm getting hungry.

Honorable mentions:
Mayor McCheese




Anyway, This commercial pretty much sums up the kind of commercials one could make with a $5,000 budget back in the 80's. Note how not one food item is brought up.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Updates

Happy Monday to you all. First and foremost, the Mets flushed another season away over the past week. Just though I'd mention that as I close the refridgerator door with my head in it another dozen times...

On another note, based on some very nice contructive criticism that makes a lot of sense, I moved the music player to the top of the screen...no more scrolling to the bottom. It should make things easier on the whole. As for the music itself, if you don't like it....well now you can move your mouse over to the pause button and press it. Presto! No more music.

I'm not going to please everybody here...heck, I probably won't please half of you but I'm trying my best.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Classic TV Intros - My Two Dads


My Two Dads was a show I enjoyed watching after school (it may have been on USA paired with Just The Ten Of Us). It involved two men, either of which was the father of a teenage daughter named Nicole. The Dad's were played by Paul Reiser (hot off his appearance in Aliens) and Greg Evigan (not sure what he's been up to lately but I used to love saying his last name for some reason...Evigan).

The daughter was played Stacy Keanan, who I definitely had a crush on. She popped up again on the Patrick Duffy/Suzanne Somers show "Step By Step" but this was a show that she owned. She also had a really hot blond haired friend but I couldn't tell you her name. There also was an old lady who played the judge who assigned Nicole to this completely absurd situation...no one wanted to do a paternity test?

Here's the intro...follow as long if you wish below:





Actually before commenting on it piece by piece, I noticed that there is an EXTREMELY annoying saxophone blaring over the main theme song. It doesn't even sound like its in the right key or if its playing the right song. I couldn't help but notice that...anyway:

0:00-0:13 - A rarity at the time, a voiceover begins the opening intro to set the premise. Why two grown men would take on a 14 year old daughter that they never knew they had is beyond me. In fact, this show could have easily been paired with the HBO show Cathouse and shown at 12:30am if they REALLY wanted to push the envelope. I'd be promoting sleepovers at my place if I was them.

0:14-0:18 - That judge needs to be stripped of her judgeship (or whatever its called). Again, if some judge forced me to take care of a child because I MIGHT be the child's father, I'd head right down to the local DNA office. Even weirder is that she owns and lives in the same building that the two Dads and the girl live in.

0:21- 0:25 - A quick montage showing how "different" the Dad's are. In hindsight, they are probably very similar except for the fact that Paul Reiser's character probably hasn't been laid in years and Greg Evigan's character has threesomes every night.

0:28 - 0:33 - Odd how they "rank" the characters in the show. I sort of see why Paul Reiser gets top billing but why does Greg Evigan's name come after Dick Butkus and the judge?

0:36-0:37 - Very creepy that the judge comes down to visit them in nothing but a robe.

0:44-0:46 - I forgot that Dick Butkus was even in this show. I think he ran the local diner or something like that. I like how in two of his clips he's seen throwing a football (because he was famous for being....well, a football player).

0:50 - After a flurry of montage shots, we get the money shot of Greg Evigan. He sort of looks like Kenny Loggins to me. In fact the "You Can Count On Me" theme song sounds like its being sung by Kenny Loggins.

Wow, there are a lot of sweaters seen in this clip. Again, that saxophone is so annoying...it could be Clarence Clemmons playing on speed.

Enjoy the weekend and stay dry and if you're in the NY area.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Classic Restaurants - Sizzler (or how to blow out your colon)


Not too far away from where I grew up was a perfect place to go out to eat as a little kid. Unlike picking one item off a menu, this restaurant featured a delicious buffet full of tasty items that little kids love...fried chicken, mozzaralla sticks, macaroni and cheese, and best of all, a dessert bar loaded to the max. This place was a mecca for me. Some people raved about Friendly's but those people can have their Friendly's. Me? I was a "Sizzler" kid.

Sizzler was a novelity chain where although you could order off a menu, it was unique in that it offered a buffet. I LOVED this place because I could get a slice of ham, two chicken wings, a scoop of macaroni and cheese, and some bacon bits from the salad bar, all on one plate. The adults could order off the menu and get something more civlized like a steak. The dessert bar was loaded with soft serve ice cream and many different kinds of toppings.

The local Sizzler went out of business (as did many Sizzlers) in the mid 90's and I just assumed they had gone bankrupt. To my pleasant surprise, there was a Sizzler located a half mile from my old apartement in Bayside, Queens. My roommate and I decided to check it out and relive the old days eating greasy food buffet style. Little did we know that either our stomachs grew up or the quality of Sizzler's food went down because within minutes of finishing our meals, I felt like my ass was going to explode. We immediately got out of there and went straight home, running a red light or two on the way. Let's just say, I was very happy we each had our own bathroom at that time.

So in closing, Sizzler is sort like that really hot girl in high school that now weighs 300 pounds. Ironically there's one not far away from where I live now and as tempted as I am to check it out, my common sense grabs a hold of me as my sphincter spasms everytime I drive by.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Speak and Spell


Before there were learning tools like Leapfrog and Blues Clues, there was the Speak and Spell series of mini computers. Featuring the most awesome computer generated voice ever, this took America by storm back in the late 70's and early 80's.

I can't remember if I had a Speak and Spell but I know I had a Speak and Read as well as a Speak and Math. I'm not sure if I really learned anything using them but I sure loved that lovable voice and weird chirping noises it would make when you turned them on and off.

There's an emulator online that allows you to play with one. I messed around with it for a few minutes and forgot how hard it was to understand what words the computer voice wanted you to spell. I also had some fun spelling words like "boobies", "f*ck", and "Johan Santana".

Check it out here.

http://www.speaknspell.co.uk/speaknspell.html

I leave you with a classic commercial for Speak and Spell. I guess Bill Cosby must have been on hard times between his Fat Albert and Picture Pages days to his huge success with the The Cosby Show in the late 80's. Good stuff.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Classic Amazon.com Purchases


Happy Monday to everyone. Once again, I bring you a purchase I made from Amazon.com many years ago when I lived in Boston and my priorities were focused on amassing a huge collection of DVD's and CD's rather than today's priorities which focus on paying a mortgage and saving for the future. Today we go back to November 6, 2000. Election Day was right around the corner and I decided to celebrate it with an eclectic mix of movies, music, and the most random video game ever....read on.

1.) Transformers - Original Series - VHS 3 Pack (1984)

Oh baby, was this big news for me at the time. I was/still am a HUGE fan of the original Transformers cartoon series so when they started releasing episodes on VHS, I was all over it. I think these were one of the last VHS purchases I ever made. Anyway, it came with three tapes, showcasing six episodes in all. The highlights of this batch of episodes included the two-parter when the Autobots are framed by Megatron and sentenced to die by being flown into the sun. Needless to say, the Autobots persevere in the end. The other highlight was the famous "Starscream's Ghost" episode that featured the return of my favorite Transformer, Starscream, as well as Unicron's head (which had a spooky voice). Finally, it also has the classic episode when Scourge takes over control of the Matrix and becomes this mutated crazed (and pretty scary looking) Transformer. Another iconic episode for me. If you've never seen the original cartoon and just the recent Michael Bay movie, then I sound like a raving lunatic, but if you have any inkling of what I'm talking about, then this was MUST SEE stuff from your childhood.

2.) Radiohead - Kid A (2000)



Hmmmm...this CD took a little while to get used to. Radiohead's album prior to this one, OK Computer, is still a top 20 of all time CD in my eyes, but this record was a definite departure. Some of the songs are more "moody" than "melodic" but I learned to love this album and its nice to say that. It features one of my favorite songs of all time, "Idioteque", as well as some of Radiohead's best songs like "Optimistic" and "How To Disappear Completely". Again, listening to this for the first time was a classic "WTF?!?" moment for me but I still have most of the CD on my IPOD. In today's "hit single" crazed music world, you won't see a coherent album meant to be listened to from start to finish anytime soon.

3.) The Fly/The Fly 2 (1986/1989) - DVD


One of my favorite horror movies of all time paired with one of the most random sequels of all time. The Fly is Jeff Goldblum's greatest moment. Watching his personality and eventually appearance turn into a fly is pretty cool. Nonetheless, this is NOT a movie to watch on a date. In fact, it has some of the goriest special effects (the fly vomit dissolving a guys arm and leg, a baboon getting vaporized, and the sad fly/telepod creature at the end) and features the absolute most depressing ending ever (though the Mist ranks up there too).

The Fly 2 was an okay movie and featured a young Eric Stoltz and Daphne Zuniga (the brunette from Melrose Place). It has one of my favorite lines (when the Fly creature says "I'm not getting worse....I'm getting BETTER") and the coolest final scene when the fly/man creature licks milk out of a bowl at the end. Again, they hardly make movies like this anymore. See below for further proof...



4.) Seaman - Dreamcast Videogame (2000)



Not only did I get sucked into buying Dreamcast (the Turbographix 16 of the 2000 decade) but I shelled out $60 to buy this game called "Seaman". I'll never be able to explain this properly but it was basically a game involving a virtual pet. You turn the game on and all you see is a fish tank with an egg in it. Eventually the egg hatches and this half fish, half man thing appears and it talks to gibberish to you. The game came with a headset and you had to teach it english and also feed it...EVERY SINGLE DAY...or it would die. Eventually the "Seaman" would start talking to you and ask you questions like where you worked and where you lived. He was a pretty nasty son of a bitch too. You also got to name it too.

It was the most random game ever. The farthest I got on it was raising it for two weeks and then going home to Long Island for a long weekend. When I returned, I turned on the game only to find my Seaman lying dead at the bottom of the virtual tank...heartbreaking. Here's a clip...lots of drugs were taken during the development of this game.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Heads Up!

Looks like I left a major disclaimer when I was talking about using your gas cap to keep the gas pump going when fueling up your car. Apparently its illegal here in NY to do that and the fine is $1,500. A gas attendant told me about it when I was doing it the other day and said that he's seen the police right tickets at his gas station. I'm not sure if he was putting me on but I guess that would make sense.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

R.I.P. Yankee Stadium



I'm taking a quick break from the pop culture world to personally reflect on the passing of Yankee Stadium.

This Sunday is the last game ever to be held at the current Yankee Stadium. Though I'm a huge Mets fan, one of my favorite sports memories of all time took place at the old venue...Game's 6 and 7 of the 2004 ALCS.

My old roommate Chuck and I made a pact to try and get tickets for the 2004 ALCS between the Red Sox and Yankees and we could only get two tickets each for the entire series. By the time we got through, all they had left were games 6 and 7. Of course, the Yankees blew out the Sox the first three games and looked dominant but then the Sox took the next two to force Game 6 at Yankee Stadium. Chuck drove down to Boston and off we went....those two games I'll always remember not only for the game for the most random things I've ever seen happen.

Game 6: As I leaving my Queens apartment, I caught my back bumper on the fire hydrant next to my apartment and ripped it right off. After driving into the city with two feet of rubber dragging on the ground, we took a subway to the game where upon getting off we decided to smoke a quick cigarette (yes, I would partake in a cigarette every now and then in those days) and we ended up getting a $50 ticket by the police for smoking on a subway platform (If you've been to Yankee Stadium, the subway platform there does NOT look like a platform). The game itself was awesome with Schilling's bloody sock and A-Rod trying to slap the ball out of first baseman's hands. Even better, Chuck and I got to do it all over again the next night.

Game 7: No problems getting to the game this time and unlike Game 6 where we sat in the bleachers, we had upper tier seats for Game 7. We got there just as Johnny Damon hit a two run homer as the Sox took the lead. The game was pretty anti-climatic as the Sox pretty much dominated from start to finish, though Pedro Martinez giving up some runs made it interesting. Four things I'll always remember from that game:

1.) Seeing an all out brawl take place a section over from us featuring two-three beers being dumped on a Sox fan. About 6 people were throwing punches.

2.) In the bottom of the 9th as the Yankees tried to mount one last futile attempt, I looked behind me and saw a 6 year old kid with a Yankee hat absolutely sobbing. That was odd considering they had still had won 4 of the last 8 World Series. Anyway, I quitely smile to myself.

3.) Seeing the Red Sox taking pictures with the Boston fans behind the dugout.

4.) My friend Chuck deciding to buy a momento from the street vendors. His purchase? A five dollar Pedro Martinez "Who's Your Daddy" T-shirt.

So to the "Gray Lady" of sports stadiums, I bid you adieu and may you be demolished along with that 6 year old's tears stained on the concourse.

Music Update

No major post today but I updated the music throwing in 59 new songs (I like "Big Time" by Peter Gabriel a lot so I kept that one).

In any event its a little more diverse...some classic underrated love songs in there mixed in with some random late 80's club songs.

I'll be back tomorrow...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Top 10 Trilogies of All Time - Part 2

Folks, this will count as Wednesday's and Thursday's update. If you know what I do for a living, let's just say work has been a little crazy the past week.

Anyway, let's continue the countdown...

5.) Karate Kid



Alright, I'm cheating here a bit because there was a Karate Kid Part IV but Daniel wasn't in it and let's face it...he's the Karate Kid. The first one played out like a Rocky for teenagers and it featured one of Elizabeth's Shue's first movie roles (though she was a tad chunky back then). It features many quotable lines ("sweep the leg", "put him in a body bad...yeaaahhhhh!!!" and "Mercy is for the weak") and the best song and training sequence ever featured in a movie. Take a look.



Part 2 held up because you really hated the bad guy and it takes place in Okinawa and has one of the best lines ever uttered in a movie by Mr. Miyagi..."Daniel-San, this is not tournament...this is REAL". The final fight scene is nice and bloody too. Peter Cetera's "Glory Of Love" pushes this over the top for me as well. Part 3 also holds up although the quality drops off a bit. Its good to see the bad guy from Part 1 come back and they bring back the karate tournament but the scene where Daniel and Mr. Miyagi save a poor bonsai tree knocks it down a step.

4.) American Pie -



The first one revolutionized the teen sex comedy again and although it may seem cliche now, the pie scene is a classic. Lots of memorable characters as well and started the careers of many of the lead characters. The second one is pretty solid mainly because all the lead characters return and more hijinks ensue. The third movie was more about Stifler than anything else but again, there's enough laughs for it to hold up.

3.) Godfather -



I am a HUGE fan of Godfather's Parts I and II but have a hard time getting into part 3. Part 3 would be a much better movie if I and II weren't so good. Again, I can't stress how good the first two movies are. Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Marlon Brando, and Robert DeNiro all put on powerhouse performances and the toll booth scene is still amazing. The character of Fredo is my favorite though and his "passed over" monologue to Michael in part 2 is just tragic. Buy the special DVD collectors set for some great behind the scenes stuff and tons of great deleted scenes.

2.) Star Wars -




I think the first movie I ever saw in the theaters was Return Of The Jedi but I would have been 5 years old and really don't remember much except the Ewoks. When I got bronchitis in junior high, I finally watched these movies back to back and fell in love with them. They've definitely held up well and its an epic story despite getting a little cutesy in Return of the Jedi. Many quotable lines and as much as I loved Darth Vader, the Emperor has tons of great lines. Here's a little sample of a alternate ending that was filmed but never released until a few months ago.




1.) Back To The Future -



A bit of a shocker you may say? This is just my opinion. These movies hold soft spots for me. The first one was was super cool to see what the 1950's looked like and featured one of the scenes that frightened me as a kid (when Doc Brown's up high on the clock tower and comes across the gargoyles). It still features one of my all time "give me the chills" scene...



Part 2 was all over the place going into the future, then back to 1955, ends heading back to 1885. Part 3 actually holds up well because it keeps adding to the mythology of the trilogy as well tying everything up perfectly. I've seen these movies more than the Star Wars movie so that puts it over the edge for me...but it was close.

Honorable Mentions:
1.) Scream - First was great but parts 2 and 3 ran out of steam and I hate David Arquette.
2.) The Matrix - The first one was awesome but part 2 was so bad, I never had any interest in seeing the third one.
3.) Pirates Of The Caribbean - see above
4.) X-Men - Would be number 11 on this list.
5.) Poison Ivy - Movies featuring Alyssa Milano and Jamie Pressley butt naked? Drew Barrymore almost naked? These would have made the list had I actually watched the entire movies and not fast forwarded to the good parts.

QUICK DISCLAIMER!!! I never saw the Lord Of The Rings Trilogy and I don't want to comment on something I've never scene. Whenever I get around to watching it, I promise to update this list. Go easy on me.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Top 10 Trilogies of All Time - Part 1

Trilogies are becoming more and more frequent because if you have a great first movie, then the dollar signs go off in Hollywood to basically repeat the same premise and make more money. Of course others are used to tell a complete story. Here is my totally biased opinion of the top 10 trilogies of all time. I guarantee you that I am leaving some of the more famous ones out so I can focus on a few underrated ones. I don't need JRR Tolken fans screaming at me because I left out Lord Of The Rings or 8 year olds because I left out Shrek (which I still haven't seen yet).

10.) Robocop -



The first movie was awesome as I'd never seen a guy get his arm blown off or his jugular ripped out. Many quotable lines ("I'll by that for a dollar", "I work for Dick Jones!!! Dick Jones!!!", and "What's your name officer?...Murphy") and shows pretty graphically what happens when a man gets toxic waste dumped on him.

Robocop 2 was a movie I used to show off my home theater system since it featured non stop gun fire at the end. A little more "out there" than the first movie especially when you have a 12 year kid acting as the number 2 person in a large drug empire.

Robocop 3 was pretty bad I'll admit. A Robocop movie should never be rated PG-13 and the original actor who played Robocop, Peter Weller, had moved on. Seeing Robocop fight a ninja was pretty lame as well.

9.)Spiderman -



The first spiderman was a dream to fans of the comic book (like myself). An almost perfect movie dragged down a bit by the long amount of time it takes to establish the character. Revolutionized special effects as well and nothing beats William Dafoe playing a bad guy.

Spiderman 2 was even better than the first since it got right to the action, had a great conflicted villain in Dr. Octopus, and had a lot more action.

Spiderman 3 had probably the best villains on paper but it dragged in a lot of places and Spiderman was not meant to be dancing. I guess it was easy for Tobey Maguire to play "dark" Spiderman by coming his hair over. Still a good way to wrap things up and Venom was always my favorite villain in the comic book so it was good to see him come to life on the big screen.

8.) Final Destination -



Final Destination had a pretty neat twist on the horror genre in that the way people died was pretty ingenious. The first movie graphically showed a plane crash, the second movie showed a car accident, and the last one showed a roller coaster disaster. The movies loosely tied together (the guy from the Candyman movies was the only actor in each one if I remember right). Not bad for a small horror movie.

7.) Blade -



I love vampires (anybody else watching the new HBO series True Blood?) so this movie is on this list for almost that reason alone. Combine that with a good storyline, an update of the vampire mythology, and a good performance from Wesley Snipes and Steven Dorf (I love his name) and you have a great first movie. The second was even better with improved horror effects and more bad assing by Mr. Snipes. The third movie was a little weak in that it brought in new characters like Kate Beckingdale but it was a worthy end to this trilogy.

6.) Poltergeist -



The movie that initiated my fear of clowns and old bible thumping preachers. The first one was a great story and although the second one was a little more horrorish, there were some great scenes like the younger brother's braces attacking him and seeing the guy who played Coach vomit up a small worm like creature. Throw in the creepy old guy and that movie worked for me. The third movie was pretty weak in that Carol Anne was the only actor from the first two movies and it involved something to do with movies and a swimming pool. I only caught it on cable once. I think Tom Skerrit was in it.

Anyway, come back tomorrow for part 2.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Working around the Music

I'm getting some feedback about having problems hearing videos when the music is playing in the background. To turn the music volume down or even off, scroll to the bottom of this page to music player and either hit the stop button or adjust the volume. Only the music will be affected.

Now...onto Pearl Cream, made from real pearls.

Classic Commercials - Pearl Cream

Around the late 80's maybe the early 90's, there was a very annoying commercial that ran almost non-stop. I'm not sure if this was shown outside the NY area but whether you've heard of it or not there's no escaping Pearl Cream.

I had no idea what Pearl Cream was. What I did know was that I wanted to smack the lady who was selling it, Nancy Kwan. In hindsight, that would have been pretty unfair to her but if you look at this commercial today in today's "political correct" standards, something is terribly wrong here. Let's take a gander...




You know something is great right away when Nancy Kwan tells you about movies she's been in that you've never heard of. "Noble House"? A movie called "The World Of Suzie Wong"? I love the old movie poster too, it looks like its from 1950's.

Anyway, the key moment that sets discrimination back 100 years is when she asks you how hard it is to tell "how old most oriental women" are. Yeesh, someone needed to tell Nancy or her writer that its "asian" not "oriental". Even when I was a little kid, I knew that "oriental" was the wrong word to use.

To me though the best line in the whole thing comes in at 26 seconds. Not only is the product called "Pearl Cream" but its also "made from real pearls". I still imitate the way she says it to my wife which drives her nuts not only because I remembered this commercial but also for my uncanny resemblence to how Nancy Kwan says it. I do realize that I should be slapped across the face myself for finding this funny however.

Back to the product though. Would you ever use a product made from pulverized pearls? The testimonials are hilarious especialyl from the grandmother who's grandkids thought she had a facelift. I didn't know what a facelift was until I was probably 15 years old. I also like at :54, Nancy says that for years only the rich could afford this product but with an increase in the lower cost of gathering something called "pearl oysters", its now affordable. WTF are pearl oysters?!? Why would you grind up pearls for $19.99 a jar when you could put them on a string and sell them for hundreds of dollars?

Lastly, they stamp the word "Oriental" right on the product as well. Good job on that one. Nancy Kwan must have left her integrity at her home when she picked her paycheck for this advertisement.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Saved By The Bell Greatest Moment


Super quick tidbit. If you haven't figured it out yet, you can turn the music off by turning the volume down. The player remembers your last setting so that should work. I realized that with the videos I sometimes post, you'd need to turn the music down to hear it. Billy Wagner's tears from yesterday don't sound as good when "Don't Stop Believing" is playing at the same time.

Onto to today....

Saved By The Bell will be the cockroach of this century. It seems like it will never die and will be in syndication forever. Not too bad for a show that lasted 4 maybe 5 years. In any event my morning ritual involves catching a few minutes of an episode every morning, its on TBS from 7am to 9am, to relive the old days of watching this show Saturday mornings. Yesterday morning featured one of the all time great episodes...the episode where Jesse is overwrought by pressure to not only pass a big test but perform the Pointer Sisters modern day classic "I'm So Excited" in front of a some kind of music producer.

In any event, Jesse starts taking caffeine pills and eventually gets hooked on them. What follows is perhaps the greatest 27 seconds in teen TV history. I'm shocked Elizabeth Berkeley didn't get an Emmy nomination for this but it certainly caught the eye of the casting director for the movie Showgirls.

First, I give you the original clip.



Pretty powerful stuff! I'd like to know how much the Pointer Sisters made off royalties for lending them this song because its a comedy goldmine. Ironically enough, somebody on Youtube made a little spoof out of this incident. Its funny what a laugh track can do. Check this out...



Bravo to the creator of this.

That's all for this week. I'm up in the New England region this weekend so for now enjoy the music and there will be more to come on Monday.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Grown Men Crying - Part 2

This video caught my eye yesterday. Its the New York Mets closer Billy Wagner's press conference announcing he will miss the rest of this year and next year due to elbow surgery. A reporter asks him if he's told his young son yet about what happened. Cue up the tears...



I love how he says at the 0:24 second mark "he's not ready". Can you imagine Tom Brady crying like this if he has a press conference about him not playing this year? I'd love though to see a reporter ask him what his son is thinking. Brady probably would answer "I've only met my son twice".

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

New Feature

FINALLY! I figured out how to stream music on the website. I have a 13 song track list going right now and my understanding is that you, the reader of this, can play whatever song you want out of those tracks. The player is located at the bottom of the website. Feel free to just listen away. I will be adding and removing tracks as we go along but for now enjoy...

The songs will mostly focus on the 80's for now. This first batch is very random I'll admit. I recommend the song by the Monroes, The Breakfast Club (the band not the movie), and the Greg Kiln song. If you don't like the music, I apologize in advance. If you have any requests, I will try to add them.

Back to our regularly scheduled program tomorrow.

More to come...


I'll have a bigger update later today but wanted to point out that I went to a deli for lunch and saw a half gallon of the old drink Ssips for sale. I don't know what surprised me more...seeing a Sssips or seeing it being sold by the half gallon.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Lets Rip Off The Youth of America - AKA Columbia House CD Club


It was around high school when I was really getting into buying music...I began a lifelong obsession with Led Zeppelin, as well as getting into more current music heard on the radio. Since I didn't have much money, I was intrigued by numerous inserts found in almost any magazine or newspaper that said in huge bold letters "6 CD's for 1 Penny!!!". I knew of one other person who had just did and said its legit and that its "totally awesome" (it was 1989 after all).

I mailed in the reply card and ordered my 6 CDs. Strangely, I remember almost all of them which included Pearl Jam's "Ten", Peter Gabriel's "Us", En Vogue's "Funky Divas", and Billy Joel's "Greatest Hits Volume 1 & 2". The sixth CD was a jazz CD by this band called Foreplay...keep that in mind.

About a month later I got a box with the CD's in it and I knew that I had one year to buy six more CD's over the course of the next 12 months (it was in very small writing). I figured I'd wait a bit since I had plenty of time. About one month after that, I received another box from Columbia House and in it was a CD, "Lou Rawls Sings The Blues" along with a bill for $19.99. Apparently if you didn't make an order, they would send you a "recommended pick" based on your music interests every month. Mine was "jazz" because of the Foreplay CD I bought. I didn't know what to do and even though I could send the CD back, I had enough things going on with learning about chemistry, algebra, and the Trail Of Tears that the American Indians had to walk in 1838, to properly package something. In the meantime, my parents caught wind of how deceptive the company and agreed to help bail me out of my obligation and helping pay for the CDs.

Oddly enough, I still have that Lou Rawls CD, still never played, his smiling face suffocating within the plastic wrapping.

In any event, I did some research and it appears that they are still in business today but using DVDs instead. They have an "unsatisfactory" rating with the Better Business Bureau and there are numerous negative stories on the web about them.

Anyway, I guarantee you've at least heard of them and if you've ever used them, let me know your experience!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Top 6 Worst Candy/Candy Bars

A couple of weeks ago, I touched on my top 10 candy bars growing up. Let's take a look at some of the worst.






6.) Fruit Stripe Gum - Gum is supposed to be sugary and taste like, you know gum. Instead, a company thought it would be a good idea to blend the flavor of fruit to the familiar taste of gum. Add some colorful and catchy packaging and you have Fruit Stripe Gum. I have no idea what the donkey/horse logo stood for. I'm not sure if it exists today but if it does, you've been warned.





5.) Razzles - Its a candy, no wait its a gum...what's that you say...its both!!! Each piece of circular candy had a letter on it. I actually enjoyed Razzles at first but it was because they had this contest where if you've spelled out the word "RAZZLES" you'd win a prize (probably 100 cases of Razzles). Since I was a sucker for contests, I bought a lot of these only to never find the most common letter of the alphabet...the god d*mn "E". Maybe that's why I don't like them anymore. Having your dreams shattered at age 8 is hard to get over.





4.) Satellite Wafers - I'm not sure what exactly what these candies were...they were hollow, looked like flying saucers and came in a bunch of different colors but it was the only candy, good or bad, that had absolutely NO FLAVOR. It tasted like chalk, or at least I'm assuming that's what chalk would have tasted like. My wife apparently used these for the communion when she and her sister played "church" as kids...I'm sure they both tasted exactly the same. The Satellite Wafer's super hot cousin was the Bleep which you could find in most supermarket vending machines and was super sour and hard as a rock.





3.) Chuckles - I don't mind gum drops that much, though you don't see them packaged as candy anymore these days. Chuckles though was a gum drop on steroids. They were HUGE and you only got five per pack and they were always the same colors. I didn't mind the green or yellow ones but hated the black one so therefore I was only enjoying 80% of the candy which is a rip off in my eyes. Luckily my parents loved the black ones so at least it didn't go to waste.





2.) Good & Plenty - Its never good when a candy looks like pills much less white and purple pills. What's worse is that they were candy coated licorice that tasted terrible. This was one of my Mom's favorite candies when I was growing up and every time I tried it, I just couldn't handle it. I once tried to break off the candy coating to avoid the licorice part but it took 20 pieces just to get a thimble's worth of the candy coating in my hand. Plenty? Absolutely. Good? I beg to differ.





1.) A stick of gum from a 1987 pack of Topps Baseball Cards - In 2003 a buddy of mine got tickets to a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway. Outside Fenway, a guy was selling old packs of baseball cards. Just for fun, I bought an old pack of Topps from 1987. I had completely forgotten that Topps would include a piece of gum back then and lo and behold, I held in my hand a 16 year old piece of pink sugary goodness. I had heard that it takes seven years for gum to digest so a piece of undigested gum must still be good. After putting it in my mouth, I quickly realized that gum is not meant to be preserved for over 2 years much less 16. The gum shrank to a quarter of its size as soon as my saliva hit it and the juices I swallowed were most likely the preservatives used to keeping it look like a piece of gum. I couldn't chew through it and about 30 seconds later it found the ground only it wouldn't stick to anything. The next time you find yourself at a baseball card show, be careful!

Other honorable mentions:
1.) Peeps - not a big fan of marshmallows and it was odd biting the head off of a bird shaped candy.
2.) Necco Wafers - The only flavor/color I liked was the hot pink or white ones. The rest were too chalky or the flavors were too random.
3.) Baby Ruth - Something about a combination of raisins and nuts in a candy bar never sounded good.
4.) Mounds - See above and add in coconuts.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Tidbits


Some thoughts/ramblings as weekend (and tropical storm Hannah) approaches.

1.) Caught most of the first episode of the new 90210 Tuesday night and it was pretty dreadful. A lot of plot lines are far fetched (at least I hope they are or I will NEVER send my kids to high school). It was nice in a way to see Kelly and Brenda again although they were not wearing their bikinis or swim suits they wore during the summer of the second season...a shame. My wife said it best when the new characters looked like they were trying to match the weight of the Chinese gymnastics team...showing off your hip bones is not attractive.

2.) I saw most of Sarah Palin's speech on Wednesday night and thought it was pretty good. Her pregnant daughter's boyfriend did NOT want to be there that's for sure. There's something endearing about her but of course can she lead the country...who knows.

3.) Killing time last weekend, I saw the movie "Pineapple Express". Since I'm not a pot smoker, I pounded three beers before going to see it and the first half hour was really funny. After the main plot kicked in though, it was terrible...one of the worst 60 minutes of film I've seen since Enchanted, though I only gave Enchanted 45 minutes before turning it off. I recommend this movie only if you're completely lit or allowed to continue to drink beers while watching the movie.

4.) I'm currently rewatching Seasons 1 and 2 of Heroes (hence the lack of movie updates and reviews). What a great show and its fun to watch them 3 or 4 episodes at a time. I'll admit that Season 2 wasn't nearly as good as Season 1 but Season 3 looks to be pretty promising. Hopefully it will rebound like Lost did. Speaking of Lost, I have yet to see a single episode but anytime a preview or commercial comes on ABC, my wife and I look away or change the channel. Someday we'll catch up although I think we have to watch 60 episodes which will take us to 2012 due to our busy schedules.

5.) I'll leave you with a top 5 list. My favorite pop icons with the name "Lange"

5.) Robert John Lange aka "Mutt" Lange - Recent ex-husband of Shania Twain, he produced some of the best 80's albums of all time (Back In Black by AC/DC, Pyromania and Hysteria by Def Leppard, as well music by The Cars and Bryan Adams)

4.) Jessica Lange - Academy Award winning actress, she is one half of one the more "tasteful" sex scenes I remember growing up in "The Postman Always Rings Twice"...he sure did in this movie!

3.) Ted Lange - He was the bartender, Issac, on the Love Boat. Although I can't recall sitting through a single episode of this show, he's become a bit of an iconic figure over the years.

2.) Artie Lange - I am a huge fan of the Howard Stern show and think that Artie is hilarious although he's the only 40 year old person that there is a death watch for. He continues to bring laughter to all despite being prone to fits of anger and his trouble overcoming a raging heroin addiction.

1.) Jim Lange - The name may not be famous but he was the host of one of my two favorite game shows growing up. The first was Bullseye which actually frightened me because of look of the rainbow colored swirling bullseyes themselves during the game. He also hosted "Name That Tune" which turned me on to music. That's one game I'd love for them to bring back. The recent "Don't Forget The Lyrics" is okay but nothing beat the contestant "bid-a-note" showdown saying:
"Alfred, I can name that tune in 4 notes"
"Diana, I can name that tune in 2 notes"
"Alfred, name that tune"

Here's an example of the above. I'll admit, the guy is pretty obnoxious. I won't say who wins in the end but it gets pretty heated. That's why Jim Lange was so great, he keeps the game moving along.



I love the shot of hand playing the notes and I wouldn't have gotten the first song even though its very popular...good stuff.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Greatest 2 minute 48 second video ever...aka Uncle Ned on Family Ties

I can't believe I found this video. This is the ending of the "very special" episode of Family Ties where Tom Hanks plays "Uncle Ned". Little does the family know that Uncle Ned is a raging alcoholic and goes so far to as to drink vanilla extract (seen earlier in the episode). To this day if I'm out of beers, I'll half think of drinking vanilla extract although I'm not exactly sure what vanilla extract is. I hope this doesn't mean I'm an alcoholic.

In any event, this is the last 3 minutes of this particular episode. Uncle Ned has just failed a job interview because he showed up drunk (hence the suit) and now Alex and Mr. and Mrs. Keaton are trying to help him realize he has a drinking problem. You have to stay with this one. Follow along...




0:00-0:30 - Two future acting legends aka Marty McFly and Forrest Gump show off their chops as Alex shows his momentos he's kept out of love and admiration he's had for his Uncle since he was a little kid. Uncle Ned responds by trying to burn them in the fireplace.

0:32 -0 :34 - The slap heard round the world. How did Micheal J. Fox get flung back so far? Seriously, watch it again. That was some amazing acting. I love the "LEAVE ME ALONE" Uncle Ned yells.

0:35 - 0:36 - Yes, the Dad gets fired up...gotta love the "What the hell are you doing???" line as his wife tries to retrain him.

0:38 - 0:42 I love this moment...Tom Hanks is doing his laughing/crying thing and the way he says "I don't know" the first time is the way I enunciate it when I got into trouble. The things you absorb as a child.

0:42 -0:44 - Michael J. Fox seals up the Emmy award for 1985 with that close up.

0:45 - 1:05 - Mr. Keaton, aka Michael Gross, does a little warmup for his future role as the gun toting local in the Kevin Bacon classic movie Tremors.

1:06 - 1:37 - More award winning work from these two acting legends. Although Alex shied away from Uncle Ned touching his knee in hatred, I'd shy away from ANY relative if they tried to grab my leg like Uncle Ned did.

1:40-1:45 - I love how they bring the laugh track back into play as Uncle Ned walks to the phone to call AA. If I was in the studio audience watching this, I'd be afraid to laugh.

2:00-2:08 - Tom Hanks shows why he will will two Oscars and be nominated for many more with the way he says the "drinking problem" line.

2:10 - end... roll credits. I forgot about the sax version of the "How About Us" theme song. Too bad Mallory and Jennifer weren't there to witness Uncle Ned's meltdown or even better, have Uncle Ned slap the youngest child Andrew in the face. That would have awesome.

WOW!!! You don't see stuff like this on TV anymore, that's for sure.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Classic Amazon.com Purchases



You know the story. These are actual orders I made from Amazon.com. This one is probably the most I ever bought at one time for a single order. The date was September 29, 2000. I can't recall if anything specific was going on that would cause me to buy so much at one time but then again I was 22 and spending money on electronics like the Yankees did on over the hill superstars. The total order came to $200.05...yikes!



1.) The Perfect Storm (1999) - DVD - Sadly, I've yet to watch this film since I bought it. I did see it in the theaters and recall it being pretty good though some critics disagreed. An eclectic cast featuring George Clooney, Mark Walberg, Diane Lane (before she got naked in Unfaithful), John C. Reilly (from Talladega Nights and Boogie Nights), and even Michael Ironside ("See you at the party Richter!!!" from Total Recall). The movie centered around the huge wave but there was really lame subplot about rescuing a dumb family out at sea at the time the storm hit. I should pop this this movie again. Recommended.




2.) Gladiator - 2 Disc Special Edition (2000) DVD - One of my all time favorite movies. Lots of great performances by every actor involved but its the little scenes I like the best. My roommates and I would super-slomo the scene where Maximus's boy would get run over by the bad guys as well as the scene where the black lady on the chariot gets her arm chopped off. Joaquin Phoenix (always known as the chubby annoying kid from "Space Camp") is an awesome villain and the battle scenes are excellent. Russell Crowe deserved the Oscar here. Highly recommended.



3.) The Patriot (2000) - DVD - Another movie I really enjoyed in the theater but have yet to watch again since I purchased it. Mel Gibson plays a father during the Revolutionary War. When the war comes to his town, his son (played by Heath Ledger) fights along with him. I remember it being pretty bloody and the bad guy here, Jason Issacs, made me really angry. Another movie I should throw in but its difficult because 1.) finding two hours to watch a movie can be tricky these days and 2.) My wife hates movies with swords and large waves. Highly recommended.



4.) American Beauty (1999) DVD - A pretty interesting movie on many levels. I saw this one in the theater and walked out feeling pretty sad since Kevin Spacey is killed at the end. On the other hand, I felt happy to see Mena Suvari's breasts exposed on screen although the sort of sex scene is pretty cringe inducing. This movie is a comedy, drama, tragic melodrama, all wrapped up into one. The soundtrack is pretty memorable too and Genesis used the main theme for their 2007 tour when they would come on stage to start the show. I pick up new things every time I see this movie on cable these days. Highly recommended.



5.) G.I. Joe The Movie (1986) DVD - Haha, out of all of these movies here, I've probably scene this one more than all of them combined. I could do a whole post about this movie but I'll keep it short. Full of great lines ("be a credit to your country", "a maaannn, i was once a maaaannn", "the last sound you will here, is the sound of the cracking of your vertebrae", and of course "Cobra La-la-la-la-la!!!!"). The animation was pretty good and they did their best to have every Joe and Cobra character get at least one line in the movie. The final battle scene always gives me the tingles too. Highly recommended (if you're a fan of the show).



6.) Scream Trilogy - Boxed Set DVD - Another movie I've yet to watch in the theater and I've never seen Scream 3 yet. The first Scream was a very cool movie theater experience as it scared the bejesus out of me and it was a pretty good plot. The second one, I barely remember and I have no interest in seeing the third one. This series of movies initiated my hatred for David Arquette (Dewey in the movies) as well as Neve Campbell to an extent as she always teases but never shows nudity (see "Wild Things" as well). Why I bought this in hindsight, I have no idea. Only recommended for the first movie.



7.) Transfomers: The Movie (1986) DVD - I will set this aside for a future post but I'll quickly state that I can recite the entire movie. When this movie was released on DVD, it was the equivalent of David Wheaton knocking on my door asking me to hit tennis balls. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT confuse this movie with the dreck known as Transformers that Michael Bay did last summer. Highly recommended.




8.) Major League Baseball - All Century Team (1999) DVD - Ahhhhh...when I'm feeling nostalgic for the good old days of baseball, I will put this on. Its the broadcast of the all century MLB ceremony from Fenway Park during the 1999 All Star Game. Living 10 minutes away from Fenway at the time, I have special memories of this. From the best video game announcer of all time, Vin Scully, doing the intros, to seeing all of these great players on the field together for the first time, to seeing Ted Williams being rolled out on a golf cart to a thunderous ovation, this is a must buy for baseball lovers. Highly recommended for sports fans.

Hmmmm...looking at the above, it looks like I was on a movie binge at the time.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Wedding Songs


I was at a wedding over the weekend (hence, the lack of new posts) and had a blast. It got me thinking that there are usually the same ten songs played at every single wedding. Sometimes the wedding couple will have certain songs excluded from the DJ playlist (and any DJ dumb enough to play the "Macarena" these days should lose his DJ license). Here are probably the top 10 "cliche wedding" songs that I've personally heard at weddings over the years (including my own). In no particular order.

10.) "Dancing Queen" by ABBA - It really depends on how many drinks I've had at a wedding by the time this song comes on to determine if I like it. If I'm sober or hear this song on the radio, I can't stand it. After 8 beers, I'm simulating the piano part. I did indeed have this song on the "do not play" list at my wedding because I would rather have heard Johnny Kemp's "Just Got Paid" which was actually played at my wedding.

9.) "Love Shack" by the B-52s - Another wedding staple during the wild dancing section. People over 50 and under 20 must cringe when this song comes on but the 21-49 demographic either loves it or hates it. I'm on the hating side a bit but its mainly because I'm sober right now. Put a few beers in me and I might be out there shouting the unintelligible line the girl screams at the breakdown...something like "heeeeeroooo....rusted"

8.) "The Twist" by Chubby Checker - This one gets the over 50 crowd back as they will hit the dance floor and be the only people who actually know how to do the twist. Also allows the dirty old men the opportunity to mingle on the dance floor with the bridesmaids and hot cousins.

7.) "What A Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong - Sometimes this song is actually a couple's wedding song. A nice slow quick song that strictly platonic friends dance with without any worry that one of the platonic friends has a major crush for the other trying to make the move. The words are very simple. I will remember this song more for a commercial about an anti-litter campaign for NYC back in the 80's.

6.) "Living On A Prayer" by Bon Jovi- Tommy and Gina's story always seems to get 90% of the crowd off their feet. A nice buildup to a blue collar like story followed by a great bridge stating that you really do need to hold to what you've got. The soaring chorus is a perfect singalong for young children and their great grandparents alike. We are always almost halfway there, living on a prayer.

5.) "Pour Some Sugar On Me" by Def Leppard - almost as big as "Living On A Prayer" but slightly harder to dance to because the hammer style beat it has. If one listens the lyrics closely, you feel different the next time you shout out the words while dancing with your aunt Betty.

4.) "Shook Me All Night Long" by AC/DC - The beginning beat and guitar riff is perfect and I've seen a lot of air guitaring to this song. When I was little I didn't quite understand the "I was ready to come but she was already there" line but I sure do now. Another great chorus for people to sing along too.

3.) "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey - This song got very popular at parties the last five-ten years and is almost a staple at weddings but you'll still find a few where its not played. Anyway, this is currently my favorite song played at a wedding (at least until "Nights On Broadway" by the Bee Gees becomes popular). Steve Perry's voice is like peanut butter sauce on a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup sundae.

2.) "Wonderful Tonight" by Eric Clapton - This song is slowly stating to fizzle out of weddings as I don't recall hearing it much anymore. It usually played towards the end of the wedding as a slow song so the drunk single people can potentially find someone to hook up with.

1.) "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond - This song has been grating on me for years even if I am pretty wasted by the time this song is played. A goofy song about touching people and of course Caroline being sweet, everybody love to sing the "bum bum bum" part talking about how good times have never felt so good....so good....so good.

Honorable mentions:
YMCA (dance move songs aren't as popular as they used to be)
Staying Alive (now that the disco crowd is not getting married anymore, this song isn't heard much anymore)
Holiday (Madonna's first party hit is getting very popular these days)
Can't Help Falling In Love With You (keeps Elvis's relativeness alive)
Wanna Be Starting Something/Rock With You/Don't Stop Till' You Get Enough/P.Y.T (every wedding features at least one Michael Jackson song but it usually varies among those four.)

Songs you never want to hear at a wedding:
Separate Ways by Journey
Baby Come Back by Player
Crazy Bitch by Buckcherry
Goodnight Saigon by Billy Joel
Black by Pearl Jam
In My Time Of Dying - Led Zeppelin