Sep 30, 2018

Lost 80's Live

Lost 80's Live
A Flock of Seagulls / Wang Chung / Naked Eyes / Bow Wow Wow
When In Rome / Animotion / Gene Loves Jezebel / Dramarama
Philadelphia, PA - September 29, 2018
Photo Album - Ticket
This was one of the best 80's shows I've ever been to.  Gene Loves Jezebel hit the stage first.  To be honest, I've never heard of them before today, but they had a lot of energy and I enjoyed their music.

Annabella Lwin performed next.  She was 15 when she was the became a star as the singer of Bow Wow Wow.  Today, she sounds just as good as ever.

Dramarama was the third band to come out with lead singer John Easdale carrying a case of Tab and drinking the soda throughout their set.  I didn't know much about them except for the song "Anything, Anything" from A Nightmare On Elm Street 4.  They performed it as their closer, and it was incredible.

Naked Eyes was next, and Pete Byrne sang and played two of my favorite new wave songs: Promises, Promises and Always Something There To Remind Me.  Both were definitely bucket list songs to see in concert.

Animotion came out fifth.  They owned the stage and performed Let Him Go and Obsession, and they did a pretty incredible cover of Soft Cell's Tainted Love.

When In Rome was the sixth group to perform.  They did a short set, but it included one of my favorite songs, The Promise.

Wang Chung was absolutely fantastic!  Nick Feldman came out wearing a "Wang Chung Is F*cking Metal" t-shirt, which set the tone for their set.  They opened with Let's Go and followed it up with To Live & Die In LA and Dance Hall Days.  The drummer then came out to do a cover of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun which smoothly transitioned into Everybody Have Fun Tonight.

The headliner was A Flock Of Seagulls.  They have long been one of my favorite new wave groups, and they have some of my favorite songs overall.  They opened with Modern Love Is Automatic and The More You Live, The More You Love.  Next was Telecommunication, and at around that point, the guys from When In Rome and Wang Chung came out to watch the show and take photos of Mike Score.  Next, they did one of my all time favorite songs, Space Age Love song.  They closed with Wishing and with an amazing performance of I Ran.

This was a phenomenal night of music that capped off a week where we got to see a dozen 80's artists.  I'm very thankful that we had the opportunity to go to these shows.

Sep 29, 2018

Token Rewards Card

Ticket To Fun
Aladdin's Castle (1984)
I vaguely remember Aladdin's Castle giving these cards out.  You had to buy your tokens off of the arcade attendant, and they would stamp your ticket.  When you had enough stamps, you would earn free tokens.  I found one for sale on eBay recently, but they were asking more than I want to pay for it.

UPDATE: It looks like this was purchased by Gains McDonald of the Aladdin's Castle Arcades Facebook group.  He was kind enough to share these photos, so you can get a better look at it than the grainy one that I pulled off of eBay. 

Sep 28, 2018

Goldberg 3:16

Earlier today, I listened to the most recent episode of the Something To Wrestle With podcast.  Bruce Prichard (aka: Brother Love) and Conrad Thompson discussed the WWF Breakdown pay-per-view from 1998.  In conversation, Conrad mentioned that the WWF created and sold an official company-licensed t-shirt that had Goldberg Sucks printed on the back.  To the best of my knowledge, it's the only time that the WWF ever sold merchandise that directly mentioned a wrestler from a rival promotion.

Sep 27, 2018

Camel With A Side Of Snake

Camel Burger and Python Spring Roll
Feed The Beast food truck
Bloomsburg Fair
The Bloomsburg Fair is one of the best places to try new and unusual foods.  This year, I tried the Camel Burger on Sunday and the Python Spring Roll yesterday before the concert.  They weren't bad, but I wouldn't seek either of them out to have again.  Still, I'm glad to check off camel and python on my list of foods I've had.

Sep 26, 2018

Maybe Jenny Was Jessie's Girl

Rick Springfield / Eddie Money / Greg Kihn / Tommy Tutone
Best In Show Tour
Bloomsburg, PA - September 26, 2018
Photo Album - Ticket
The Bloomsburg Fair is one of my favorite things in the world.  I look forward to it like a child looks forward to Christmas, and I've been to it nearly every year of my life.  Despite this, I've never been to a concert at the Fair.  Their shows are almost all country music acts, and that has never been something that I'm interested in.  This year, I am incredibly happy to say that we've gotten four icons of 80's pop rock, and I've been to my first Bloomsburg Fair concert.

The concert was held on the race track at the fair, and it rained for over an hour before the show the walk to our seats was quite muddy.  Thankfully, it stopped raining right before Tommy Tutone began, and the folks in charge of the show covered the floor seating ground with sand, so instead of being a mess, the ground had a spongy foam consistency.  The chairs sank into the ground a bit, but that was the worst that could be said for the impact the rain had on the show.

Everyone was incredible and performed the hits we were expecting, along with a few nice surprises.  One of the most pleasant surprises of the night was Tommy Tutone covering Jim Croce's "Operator", but performing it as if it was a song by The Clash.  It was a very interesting concept and it sounded great!  Greg Kihn opened "Our Love's In Jeopardy" with a shout out to Weird Al and the fact that this song put his two kids through college.

Speaking of kids, Eddie Money has an awesome Partridge Family vibe going on with this tour.  Two of his sons and his daughter are in the band: Julian is on drums, Dez plays guitar, and Jesse sings backup vocals (and she does the female vocals in "Take Me Home Tonight").  Money told stories and jokes throughout the show and was funny as hell.  He also mentioned that his aunt and uncle are from Bloomsburg and were in the crowd, and that parts of this show would be featured in his reality show, Real Money on Axis TV.

While I was looking forward to seeing Eddie Money the most, Rick Springfield really blew me away with his performance.  Watching this show, I thought the dude might be a 45 year old guy who looks young for his age.  As we were leaving, I overheard a woman say that she couldn't believe he was 69 years old.  I thought for sure that she was mistaken, but no.  He is 69 years old, and he runs around the stage and performs like he was half his age.  He did a montage of his hits, including a brief teaser where he performed a few seconds of 867-5309, joking that everyone thinks that was his song, but it's Tommy Tutone's.  He did all of the hits you would expect, including an incredible performance of Jesse's Girl, and the stuff from his new album was pretty damn good too.  The Voodoo House was an especially great rock song.  I left the show with a whole new level of respect for Rick Springfield as a rock star, and I think anyone who has the opportunity to see him perform live will feel the same.

Sep 25, 2018

Philly Is A Gritty City

Philadelphia Flyers (2018)
This orange beast made his debut on The Tonight Show last night.

Sep 24, 2018

Super Mario 14

Retro Gaming: 500 in 1 Plug and Play
Bloomsburg Fair (2018)
One of the stands was selling these NES mini clones for $75.  I didn't look at every game in the menu, but "Super Mario 14" caught my eye.  I played it for a few seconds and it's a platformer that features Mario throwing ninja stars at monsters.  There's also an 8 bit version of Mortal Kombat 4 in which at least three of the playable characters are maskless Sub-Zero palette swaps.

Sep 23, 2018

The Defibrillator

The Defibrillator
The Original Fry Guy - Bloomsburg Fair (2018)
It's going to take more than a deep fried bacon cheeseburger with grilled cheese sandwiches for buns and topped with deep fried pickles to knock me out.  Very tasty and surprisingly inexpensive for fair food.

Sep 22, 2018

Bloomsburg Fair 2018

Bloomsburg Fair (2018)
Bloomsburg, PA
Photo Album
It's that time of year again.  Games, fried foods, animals, massively large vegetables...  What's not to love?  I'll be sharing photos of some of the more interesting food in the days to come.

Sep 21, 2018

Talking Baseball Cards

Sportstalk Baseball
Topps / LJN Toys (1989)
This came out when I was nine years old and I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen.  Talking baseball cards?  Sign me up!

Sportstalk Baseball was a lot of fun.  It was basically a mini custom record player that ran on two AA batteries.  It played small, plastic records that were glued to the back of special 1989 Topps baseball cards that came in four packs.  The cards were slightly smaller than a postcard and featured different photos than the ones used for the typical 1989 Topps set, and the record featured a two minute audio recording of Don Drysdale, Joe Torre or Mel Allen speaking about the player.  Some of the cards also included clips of interviews with the player themselves and radio broadcast clips from games.

It was an incredible idea for its time, but the players were prone to breaking and the toy line was discontinued within its first year.  These days, you can find unopened packs of cards on eBay pretty easily but it's a bit harder to find a working player.  I'm lucky enough to have a working player and I was in the process of recording the audio of the cards I have to share on here, but Clyde's Stale Cards beat me to it by several years with this incredible video playlist of nearly every card in the set.  Below is his video of one of my all-time favorite players, John Kruk.

Sep 20, 2018

Funky Fruity Breakfast

This photo was shared by Jonathan Shykofsky to a cereal box collecting group on Facebook.  It was taken in 1974 and shows his brother with three of their favorite breakfast cereals: Fruity Pebbles, Fruit Brute and Boo Berry.

Sep 19, 2018

Vanilla French Fries

Milkshake & Fries
Coolhaus Ice Cream
I'm a sucker for trying weird foods, so when I saw shoestring french fries as an ice cream ingredient, I knew it had to come home with me.  It was incredibly rich and creamy, and the french fries added a salty, pretzel-like crunch.  On top of everything else, they have Talking Heads lyrics on the carton.  I may have found my new favorite brand of ice cream!

Sep 18, 2018

Video Arcade Gum

Video Arcade Gum.
Topps (1983)
With the revival of mini arcade machines, surely a comeback of snack foods can't be too far behind.  The Video Arcade Gum line series included replicas of Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr, Frogger, Zaxxon, Q*Bert and Centipede arcade cabinets, each filled with colorful gum.  They sold for less than 50 cents in 1983.  Today, it's not unheard of for a empty torn and crushed container to sell for between $10 and $20.

Sep 17, 2018

The Bloomsburg Fair In The 80's

Bloomsburg Fair (1985)
WNEP Newswatch 16 shared a few minutes from their coverage of the 1985 Bloomsburg Fair.  It includes footage of the Two-For-A-Buck Chicken Chuck game, as well as fairgoers shooting Michael Jackson and Joe Paterno in the face with paintballs in the shooting gallery.

The video also features tinsel wigs, and a vendor named Manny shouting at a loudspeaker to invite customers to "get down, get funky and buy some rock and roll shirts".  In other words, all of the awesomeness of the Bloomsburg Fair in the 80's.  Click here to watch.

Sep 16, 2018

Grrreat Pumpkin

Frosted Flakes: Pumpkin Spice
Between these and Pumpkin Spice Pop Tarts, I am all set for breakfast for the rest of the year.

Sep 15, 2018

Sep 14, 2018

Switch Arcade

Nyko Pixelquest Arcade Kit
Nintendo Switch
There have been a lot of awesome mini arcade games to hit stores recently, but this one may be the most interesting of them all.  The Pixelquest is a Labo-style cardboard kit to turn your Switch and two joycons into a retro arcade machine.  Amazon is offering pre-orders with a scheduled shipping date of November 27.

Sep 13, 2018

Happy National Peanut Day

Planters Peanuts neon sign (late 1950's)
Times Square - New York, NY

Sep 12, 2018

And Then There Was One

Blockbuster Video
211 NE Revere Avenue - Bend, OR
In 2010, the Blockbuster Video on Broad Street in Hazleton closed.  Within three years, there only 13 left in the country.  Three years after that, the chain was down to nine.  At the start of this year, there were only three: Anchorage, Fairbanks and Bend.

The two Alaskan locations stopped renting videos in July and sold through their inventory before closing at the end of August.  Today, the rental shop in Bend, Oregon stands as the last Blockbuster Video in America.

Sep 11, 2018

Double Header (sort of)

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Washington Nationals
Double Header - Game One
It was estimated that only 500 fans were in attendance when Nick Pivetta threw his first pitch in the first game of the double header.  I'm happy to say that I was not one of them, as the Phillies would go on to lose both games.  For a team that was in first place at the All-Star Break, this is likely going to be remembered as the final nail in the coffin of our 2018 season.

Sep 10, 2018

Mount Schweitzer

Schweitzer Mountain Resort
Sandpoint, ID
On the bucket list of places that I'd like to visit.

Sep 9, 2018

Reclaiming Mac Tonight

Mac Tonight
McDonalds (1987)
Two things that I have an appreciation for are clever advertising and things from my childhood in the 80's and 90's.  At the top of my list of things that I've always had warm, nostalgic feelings for is the McDonald's mascot Mac Tonight.

I can't really explain why, but I loved Mac Tonight when I was a kid.  He was much cooler than Ronald or any of the McDonald Land gang.  For a few years, he popped up everywhere.  He appeared at the Funfest parade in Hazleton.  There was a Mac Tonight commercial on my VHS tape of the pilot episode of Duck Tales.  There were Happy Meal toys, t-shirts and all sorts of other merchandise that featured the character, and I've spent the past 20 years collecting much of it.  I even managed to find a translite sign from the McDonalds menu boards.  In the late 90's, my grandfather and I built a light box for it that gives the image the 3-D effect that it had in the restaurant.  It's still hanging in my house to this day, and it's a cherished memory not only of a character from my childhood, but a fun project that I worked on with my Grandpa, many years before he passed away.

With all this said, it saddens me to learn that a parody version of this character has been used to promote racism.  The association it now has with horrible images and hate speech upsets me more than I could put into words in this blog.

When you see Mac Tonight on my little blog, please know that it has nothing whatsoever to do with anything negative.  It's a character that I've loved since I was six years old, and I'll be damned if I'm going to allow my happy memories of it to be overshadowed by horrible people saying horrible things.

Sep 8, 2018

Ozzy at Jones Beach

Stone Sour / Ozzy Osbourne
No More Tours 2
Jones Beach, NY - September 8, 2018
Photo Album
This was my second time seeing Ozzy, but this time we had VIP tickets that allowed us to enter the venue two hours early and listen to the sound check.  It also came with a swag bag that included Ozzy tarot cards and an Ozzy prayer candle.  Pretty awesome!

The show was incredible. It's amazing that Ozzy still sounds the same after all these years.  Stone Sour was also fantastic and performed a hell of a good set to open the show.

Sep 7, 2018

Luigi In Wildwood

Every year when we went to Wildwood, I had my eye on one of the prizes that you could win at the arcade or from the games on the Boardwalk.  As a nine year old Nintendo fanatic in 1989, I wanted to bring home a giant stuffed Luigi in the worst way.

This photo was taken at the Beach Rest Motel after my grandfather surprised me with one that he had won earlier that day.  They were made by Acme Premium Supply Corp, and I see them pop up on eBay from time to time for around a hundred bucks.  Mine has long since been lost, but I think I can save the cash and just enjoy the photo and the memories.

Sep 6, 2018

Summer Of Batman

Movie Posters
Wildwood, NJ (1989)
The Joker poster with Jack Nicholson surrounded by seagulls and holding Smylex cream foam bath (left) was second only to the Batman logo poster (right) in the summer of 1989.  Also, if you look closely, you can see a stuffed Luigi toy as one of the prizes in the top left hand corner of the Batman logo poster photo.

Sep 5, 2018

Wildwood Posters

Movie Posters
Wildwood, NJ (1989)
The gift shops and prizes on the Wildwood boardwalk were a snapshot of whatever was culturally relevant over the summer.  If pop culture was an Olympic event, the bronze medal in 1989 would have gone to Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade.  Ghostbusters 2 would have won the silver medal, and the runaway gold medal would have gone to Batman.

Batman was everywhere in 1989.  The movie, the trading cards, the toys, the Prince song that seemed to play on MTV nonstop, and of course, the Wildwood boardwalk which had posters, water bottles, keychains and every other piece of merchandise you could imagine.

This photo is of a gift shop in the boardwalk.  Hanging on the window with the boogie boards is the Michael Keaton Batman poster (left) and the Ghostbusters 2 movie poster (right).

Sep 4, 2018

Dad's Dorm

Dad's Dorm
Penn State - September 4, 1978
Forty years ago today, my pop was showing my grandfather his bad ass stereo.

Sep 3, 2018

Anthem Of An Introvert

As he often did, Bill Watterson perfectly captured my thoughts and feelings with words and images.

Sep 2, 2018

No Play Jose

Jose Canseco
2001 Topps - Anaheim Angels
2002 Topps - Montreal Expos
Thirty-three years ago today, Jose Canseco made his major league debut for the Oakland A's.  Throughout most of my childhood in the 80's and early 90's, he was one of the players that was universally loved.  When we bought a pack of baseball cards at Pantry Quick, Canseco was one of the players we were hoping to find inside.

Personally, I feel that his decision to blow the whistle on the steroid culture of the game has been a service to the game and its fans, but I recognize that I'm in the minority.  Canseco is far from being universally loved these days, even from fans and sportswriters who are all to eager to forgive other steroid users when the Hall of Fame ballots are passed out.  However, even his most vocal critics have to admit that his career was not boring.  Take, for example, these two baseball cards.

On the surface, there's nothing remarkable about either of these cards.  They're not rare or especially valuable.  They're interesting in that Jose Canseco never appeared in a major league game for either the Angels or Expos in his career.  He was cut from the Angels during Spring Training and split the 2001 season between the Newark Bears and Chicago White Sox, and he was cut by the Expos before Opening Day in 2002 before returning to the White Sox organization, appearing in 18 games for the Charlotte Knights.  In both cases, the cards were produced and waiting to be found in packs before the start of the season.

These aren't the only examples of players appearing on cards for teams that they never played for, but there can't be too many who have done so for two seasons in a row.  Dime Boxes, a fantastic blog that highlights the fun of baseball card collecting, has a section called The Zero-Year Club that covers cards like these.  It's a great way to enjoy the hobby without breaking the bank.

Sep 1, 2018

All In

All In
Chicago, IL
Tonight, Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks show that professional wrestling is not controlled by a single company.  All In has been funded by the wrestlers themselves, and it's the first non-WWF/E or WCW show to draw 10,000 in attendance in over 25 years.