Jul 31, 2017

Creme Where?

Remember, if you're having Creme Betweens, you might as well get Double Filled.

Jul 30, 2017

Signs From Another Time

Chalet Restaurant
Mountaintop, PA
Judging by the 1984 decal from the local fire department above, I'm guessing that this Winston ad on the door of this diner has been there for at least the past 30 years.  When I was growing up in the 80's, it wasn't at all unusual to see cigarette ads like this pretty much everywhere you went.  It was a less sensitive time.

They also make a pretty fantastic Reuben, if you happen to find yourself on Route 309 in Mountaintop.

Jul 29, 2017

Pleasure's Real, Or Is It Fantasy

Deap Vally - Garbage - Blondie
The Rage & Rapture Tour
Bethel Woods Center For The Arts - Bethel, NY
This is one of my favorite concert venues.  It's an amphitheater with a roof that's at the end of a very large and beautiful walkway that is lined with food trucks and other vendors.  It also happens to be at the site of Woodstock, which is not only very cool and historic, but it also seems to bring a little something extra out of the performers, who must also appreciate how awesome it is to perform on such hallowed ground.  That last part may just be my imagination, but I will say that every performance I've seen here has been incredible.

I could easily fill a small book with photos in and around this venue.  I feel like when people think of New York, their mind goes straight to Manhattan and an urban environment, but the state is also home to some of the most beautiful natural landscapes I have ever seen.  The drive from my home in Northeast Pennsylvania to this venue takes you through small towns and country roads with breathtaking scenic views that make the journey here almost as good as the destination.

The site is also home to The Museum At Bethel Woods.  It's a wonderful museum that is largely dedicated to the 1969 Woodstock Festival, but it also includes the music and culture of the 60's overall.  We first visited the museum in 2013 and were blown away.  If you ever get tickets to go to a concert at the Bethel Woods Center For The Arts and you have the whole day free, try to get there a few hours before the gates open for the show and spend some time at the museum.  You'll be glad that you did.

There's quite a few sculptures and other artwork on display here as well.  My favorite was this gnarly statue, which stands on the grounds near the entrance to the Woodstock Museum from the parking lot.  It's called Amber Cross and it was created by artist Glenn Zweygardt.  When I saw it, the sun was shining through the sphere in the foreground at just the right angle to make it look like the Eye of Sauron.

The opening act of tonight's show was a Los Angeles based duo called Deap Vally.  I don't know if I've ever seen a rock duo that consists of a lead guitarist and a drummer without any other instruments.  I am not at all a musical expert, so this observation might seen completely idiotic to someone who knows better.  Regardless, they had a great set.

Quick side note: the photos of the women of Deap Vally above and the closeup shots of Garbage and Blondie were taken with my cell phone of the video screen on the left hand side of the stage.  I was nowhere near the front, so this was the only way I was going to be able to get a picture that didn't make the artists look like blurry ants.  They're not going to win any photography awards, but it's better than nothing.  I can't complain though.  Paying $20 bucks a ticket to see this show would have been a bargain for general admission on the lawn, let alone reserved seating!

Garbage was one of my favorite bands when I was a teenager, and like many other young fans of alternative rock, I had a massive crush on lead singer Shirley Manson.  I played Garbage, especially their first two albums, hundreds of times in the 90's, and I love the music as much today as I did back then.  

They played fifteen songs from their discography, which now spans over two decades.  The setlist included many of my favorites, including Sex Is Not The Enemy, #1 Crush, I Think I'm Paranoid, Bleed Like Me, Stupid Girl, Only Happy When It Rains, Push It and Vow.  They also played one of my all-time favorite James Bond songs: The World Is Not Enough.

In the time between the end of their set and the start of Blondie's, it occurred to me that this was the fourth time that I got to see a James Bond song performed by its original artist.  The first three were The Living Daylights by A-Ha in 2010, A View To A Kill by Duran Duran in 2015, and You Know My Name by Chris Cornell, also in 2015.

Debbie Harry is more than just a new wave rock star - she is a music and pop culture icon.  I never thought I'd have the opportunity to see her perform live, let alone in such a historic venue.  They definitely did not disappoint.

Blondie's set started off with a bang with two of their classic hits: One Way Or Another and Hanging On The Telephone.  They followed this up with a song I hadn't heard before.  It was called Fun, and it's the fourth track off of their latest album, Pollinator, which was released earlier this year.  I have to be honest - I had no idea that Blondie was still recording new music.  That's on me for not paying attention, because this song was phenomenal!  I felt like a kid on Christmas morning unwrapping a present when I heard this song, and I can't wait to hear the rest of this album and to do some digging to discover more music that came out in recent years that flew under my radar.

The next song is familiar to just about everybody on the planet - Call Me.  It was released in February 1980 at the dawn of the decade, and it quickly rocketed to #1 where it spent six weeks at the top of the charts.  In my opinion, this is the song that truly set the tone for the 80's; the foundation upon which my favorite era of music was built.  The very next year, Blondie released Rapture, which is an amazing  song that fuses so many styles and was many years ahead if its time.  Getting to see Debbie Harry belt out both of these iconic anthems live is an experience that I will never forget.

Equally amazing was their performance of Atomic toward the end of the regular set.  I swear, I could feel the blood in my veins when I heard the start of the song.  I wasn't familiar with it back in the 80's, but I discovered it when I was 16 and saw Trainspotting for the first time, and I instantly fell in love with it.  I would wager that there's at least a thousand people walking around today who were conceived while Atomic was blasting out of speakers nearby.  All of the music from Trainspotting was incredible - Atomic, Lust For Life, Perfect Day, Mile End, Born Slippy, Temptation, the whole soundtrack is a masterpiece from start to finish.  I don't know which CD got played in my bedroom more; the soundtrack to The Crow or Trainspotting, but both got one hell of a lot of play.

Blondie finished the regular set with their 1979 hit Heart Of Glass, which in my opinion is one of the most under-appreciated songs in the history of pop music.  It effortlessly blends late 70's disco and what would become early 80's new wave.  It is musical perfection.  They closed out the night with a two song encore: The Tide Is High and Dreaming - the perfect end to a perfect night.

Jul 28, 2017

Welcome to Philly, Hyun Soo Kim

Hyun Soo Kim
Left Field - Philadelphia Phillies
Earlier today, the Phillies traded Jeremy Hellickson to the Baltimore Orioles for left handed bullpen prospect Garrett Cleavinger and former Korean Baseball batting champion, Hyun Soo Kim. I'm not sure why the fourth place Orioles wanted a 10 week rental on a starter with a 4.73 ERA, but getting anything back for a pitcher that we weren't going to keep after this season is a win.

Even better, this trade gives us a reason to blast this song at Citizen's Bank Park.

Welcome to Philadelphia, Hyun Soo Kim.

Jul 27, 2017

Unwrap A Smile

We went to Jimmy's Quick Lunch and saw this cool vintage Little Debbie artwork on the back of a delivery truck.

Plug & Play Arcade

This photo has been making the rounds in arcade gaming and collecting communities for a while.  Usually, it's shared as a joke, but I think it's brilliant.  I'm sure it was fun to make and to play.

Jul 26, 2017

That Voice... Where Have I Heard That Voice Before?

Voice actress June Foray passed away earlier today at age 99.  She is unquestionably the most successful voice actress of all time whose work has entertained children and adults throughout eight decades.

June was often called "The Female Mel Blanc" in animation circles, referring to the famous voice of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.  Legendary cartoonist Chuck Jones, who worked with both Blanc and Foray, corrected this by saying "June Foray is not the female Mel Blanc. Mel Blanc was the male June Foray."

Truly one of my heroes.  Rest in peace, Ms. Foray.

Jul 25, 2017

Another Mall Bites The Dust

The Schuylkill Mall in Frackville, PA was pretty awesome in its day. It opened the month after I was born in 1980, and it was a very pleasant place to be. My grandparents and I would drive down on the weekend when I was a kid. It had a wide variety of stores, lots of places to eat (including a steak house with a piano player and a buffet), a very large and well-stocked arcade, and several very large and cool fountains.

Two decades later, the mall had become a shell of its former self with fewer than half of the stores occupied, but it was still relevant. This was largely due to Black Diamond, a very large and incredible antique store that felt like you were walking through eBay. You could spend all day just walking through the place and have a great time.

Black Diamond closed on May 15th, 2016, which greatly accelerated the death of the mall. One year later, the few remaining tenants were given 90 days notice to leave the mall.  The last event that is on the schedule published at ShopSchuylkillMall.com is a used book sale that will take place on August 5th - the end of what was once a thriving shopping center.

Schuylkill Mall - Frackville, PA

Jul 24, 2017

Stranger Sequels

Stranger Things 2
Comic-Con 2017 - First Trailer
This is looking every bit as incredible as the first season.  The strangest thing in this trailer is the fact that the Dragon's Lair cabinet seems to actually be working properly.

Jul 23, 2017

Phenomenal Phillies

Before his match with Kevin Owens at the Wells Fargo Center later tonight, United States Champion AJ Styles is spending some time across the street at Citizen's Bank Park with the Phillies.

Jul 22, 2017

Ready Trailer One

Ready Player One
Comic-Con 2017 - First Trailer
One of the most creative stories of our generation is being brought to the big screen by Steven Spielberg.  Not sure what all of the car scenes are all about, but it's cool to see how many licenses they've gotten the rights to.

Jul 21, 2017

Everything Ends Up in the Cauliflower

Salvador DalĂ­ walks his anteater in Paris (1969).

Jul 20, 2017

Jul 19, 2017

Hello Kitty ♥ Pac-Man

Hello Kitty ♥ Pac-Man
Bandai Namco
Two 80's icons have teamed up in the Android and Apple mobile version of Pac-Man. Nine Hello Kitty mazes are available to play for a limited time (July 19 through August 19).

UPDATE: Click here to watch a full play-through of the Hello Kitty mazes.

Jul 18, 2017

Buffet Club

The ironic part is that I had to lose weight for the shirt to fit.

Jul 16, 2017

Sonic Sephora

Hey ladies.  You want tight, firm skin while looking like the Sega mascot?  Well then, Sephora has got the beauty products for you!

Jul 15, 2017

Mega Maker

Today's the day! Download it from Mega-Maker.com.

Jul 14, 2017

Jul 13, 2017

Big Gay Ice Cream

Big Gay Ice Cream is one of my clients.  My stepmom picked up this shirt for me when she visited their shop in Philly.

Jul 12, 2017

McGregor vs Mayweather

Conor McGregor vs Floyd Mayweather
Promotional Video
The fight is scheduled for August 26th, airing on Showtime Sports pay-per-view.  This may be the boxing match that defines a generation.

Jul 11, 2017

Atari Japan

Bought this on clearance at GameStop for 5 bucks... and it was on a BOGO sale.

Jul 10, 2017

If One Of Us Goes To War...

Crossface Design created an incredible chess set for Conor McGregor. Love to play a game on this table with the champ.  [Source: 1, 2]

Jul 9, 2017

My Diet is My Retirement Plan

Baby Bomber Burger: Bacon cheeseburger with two glazed Dunkin Donuts as the bun.
Garlic Parmesan French Fries
Spuds / Craft Burger - PNC Field - Scranton, Pennsylvania

Jul 8, 2017

Watermelon Dress

J-Pop singer Sakura Miyawaki "wearing" a watermelon dress.  Cute!

Jul 7, 2017

Jul 6, 2017

Sesame Street Sabotage

Adam Schleichkorn / Beastie Boys
Sesame Street Sabotage
Adam Schleichkornrom from Hidden Track TV recreated the Beastie Boys 1994 music video for Sabotage using footage from Sesame Street.

Jul 5, 2017

Caribbean Greens

It would have worked better as an Ocean Spray product.

Jul 4, 2017

Happy Independence Day

Hacksaw Jim Duggan
World Wrestling Entertainment
Happy Independence Day!

Jul 3, 2017

Mellon Collie and the Infinite Pizza Oven

The pizza oven at Cafe Europa looks like something out of a Smashing Pumpkins album. The pizza that comes from it tastes like something out of heaven.

Jul 2, 2017

Green Day Audience Sings Bohemian Rhapsody

Green Day Audience
Bohemian Rhapsody
From the Revolution Radio Tour (2017)
Performed at Hyde Park in London - 01 July 2017

Jul 1, 2017

The Ballad of Bunghole

Rochester Red Wings at Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs
01 July 2017 - Game Two - Top of the 6th

Red Wings 1B/DH Byungho Park gets heckled by drunken Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs fans for having a first name that is just a little too close to a Beavis & Butthead reference.

Park had the last laugh. His at-bat was the start of a rally that would score 8 runs and lead Rochester to a 9-0 victory.