Nov 11, 2018
Three Icons of my Childhood
Michael Jackson's "Black or White" was released 27 years ago today. It was an iconic song that defined the transition from the 80's to the 90's that has been senselessly mocked in the years that followed. This photo, of Michael Jordan, Michael Jackson and a Reebok Pumps-wearing Macaulay Culkin was said to have been taken backstage during the shooting of the Black or White music video.
Nov 7, 2018
The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday (1988)
I have a terrible habit of putting things off, and I don't even mean work or responsibilities - I mean everything. I have movies that I meant to watch, albums that I've meant to listen to, books that I've meant to read and video games I've meant to play that number in the thousands - things I have put off for not just weeks or months, but years and decades. Part of this is that I'm extremely forgetful and I just don't think of it when I have the time, and part of it is that I'm very easily distracted, so it's hard to pay attention when I do finally settle in to check something off of my list. Eh, I''m a mess.
With that in mind, people who were familiar with my taste in music have recommended Phish to me when I was in high school, which was over 20 years ago. At some point in the past decade, I made a playlist on my iPod to check out some of their stuff, which was promptly forgotten. Earlier today at work, I stumbled on it and decided to give it a listen. Included in this was The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday - an incredibly creative concept album that completely blew me away.
In the ten minutes of research I've done, I've learned that this was Trey Anastasio's senior project when he was working towards a bachelor degree at Goddard College. It's a story that includes songs broken by spoken narrative segments.
The story may seem a little silly on the surface, but there's a lot going on here. My take is that it's about acceptance of a dark reality and adaptation to that reality. Throughout human history, we have had kings, politicians, cult leaders and clergy who have adapted to the vulnerabilities of their fellow man and who use the gods and mythologies of their era to help themselves at the expense of others. It's the dark side of evolution: for every creature that adapts and thrives, it does so at the expense of those who do not. The frog who has evolved to have poisonous skin thrives and passes those traits onto their offspring with no regard for those who have no such protection, or for who their poison skin comes into contact with. The story presents this in the framework of "good" and "evil", and that "evil" is essentially just an acceptance that someone or something is going to seize power at the expense of others, and it might as well be you. The trick is to surrender to the flow.
Nov 6, 2018
Aladdin's Castle Lighted Sign
I stumbled across this awesome sign on eBay. The seller listed it as being used in the arcades in the 90's. If I ever managed to put together a home arcade, I'd love to have something like this hanging on the wall, but it's a little too rich for me at almost two grand.
Nov 5, 2018
Nov 4, 2018
Farmers Dairy (1984)
Rt. 309 - Hazleton, PA
Farmer's Dairy Store & Ice Cream Shop opened in 1943 and was a Hazleton landmark for over fifty years. It was across the street from Genetti's Best Western at the intersection of Church Street and 32nd Street in Hazleton. When I was a kid, my grandfather brought me here for banana splits. I remember that they were served in blue plastic boats, and they were very yummy. I know that they served other food too, but all I ever had there was ice cream.
The restaurant closed in October 1995. The building is still standing and is now home to Antonio's Breakfast World, but this sign was torn down not long after the Farmers Dairy restaurant closed.
Nov 2, 2018
Pac-Man Red Bull Arcade Cabinet
Bandai Namco (2018)
7-Eleven - Austin, TX
This specialty arcade cabinet not only features new special levels of Pac Man. It also has a refrigerator stocked with Red Bull built into the cabinet in place of the coin box. It even has graphics of a coin slot on the door of the fridge.
When playing the game, a can of Red Bull will randomly pop up and bounce around the screen. When Pac-Man eats it, he gets surrounded by a shield that lets you shoot lightning at the ghosts. It's incredible that after all these years, Pac-Man continues to be reinvented and embraced by the world.
Photo Credit: Dustun Rogers
Update: The arcade cabinet design is based on the Namco Pixel Bash machine (hat tip to Win Hickman and Todd Guse).
Nov 1, 2018
Limited Edition Pac-Can
These cans just started hitting stores in my area in the past few days. Not only is the Pac-Man design awesome, but the tab underneath has a special code that unlocks an exclusive Red Bull level of the game on the Pac-Man game app from Bandai Namco. There are three levels, so a four pack of the energy drink will allow you to unlock all three, with a fourth can for hoarders like me to save.