Jan 31, 2019

Wii Takes A Final Bow

Nintendo Wii Shop
December 10, 2006 to January 31, 2019
Today, we take for granted that games can be purchased and downloaded at any time, and that retro games will be re-released and made available on a variety of platforms.  Much of that began with the launch of the Nintendo Wii Shop for the holiday season of 2006.

The retro gaming renaissance owes itself in large part to the Virtual Console games on the Wii Shop.  For the first time, gamers were able to download NES, SNES and N64 games alongside Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, Turbografx-16, Commodore 64 and Neo-Geo classics.  There was even a selection of vintage arcade games and Japanese titles that were never sold in the United States.  While it's true that these have all been available to the emulation community for many years, there was something very special about Nintendo bringing all of these together and making them available for fans to purchase and enjoy.

The end of an era came at 1:00 am today when after 12 years, the Wii Shop Channel has been officially closed.  YouTube user Shoebillan has preserved the iconic music from the shop on a 10 hour loop in this video.

Jan 30, 2019

Captain Trips Is Returning

It was announced by CBS a few hours ago that they've ordered a 10 episode mini-series of my favorite novel - The Stand by Stephen King.  Since it was first published in 1978, it was adapted into a four episode television mini-series on ABC in 1994 and a Marvel Comics series that was published from 2008 to 2012.  The newest adaptation will be written by Josh Boone and Ben Cavell and will air exclusively on the CBS All Access streaming service.

Jan 29, 2019

Bryan Has Got Wood

Daniel Bryan
WWE World Heavyweight Champion
Tonight on Smackdown, WWE Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan unveiled his new customized championship belt, made out of 100% sustainable organic hemp, oak from a naturally fallen tree, and what appears to be turquoise stones.

Bryan Danielson has been one of my favorite pro wrestlers since I first started going to ROH shows in 2005.  He is incredibly creative and talented, and it's been a lot of fun to see his transition from a beloved underdog good guy to a hipster-ish environmentalist bad guy - essentially playing himself with the heel volume turned way up.

Jan 28, 2019

Appetite For Cheesecake

Golden Girls / Guns N' Roses Shirt
Neckbreaker Tees
There's so much to love about this shirt, but my favorite part is Estelle Getty in a Slash top hat.

Jan 26, 2019

Secret Quest

Secret Quest (1989).
Atari 2600
Programmed by Steve DeFrisco
Thirty years ago, the last officially licensed Atari 2600 cartridge to be released in North America hit store shelves.  Although it was very advanced for the console, it went almost completely unnoticed at the time, as the majority of Atari consoles in homes were kept in a box in the attic or basement in favor of the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Secret Quest is a space-themed game inspired by The Legend of Zelda, though it plays more like an advanced version of Adventure.  It's not an expensive or rare cartridge, and it pops up on compilations and Flashback plug-and-play machines from time to time, so it's accessible and worth playing.

Jan 23, 2019

Reflections Of The Past

Reflections Arcade
Wildwood, NJ - August 1986
I took this photo of a billboard on the Wildwood Boardwalk when I was six years old.  I'm sure that this is one of the arcades where I played games when I was a kid, and I have a lot of photos of the inside of various Wildwood arcades, but I don't remember which is which.

There aren't too many mentions of the Reflections Arcade online, but I was able to find this 1987 article from the Philadelphia Inquirer where it was said to have the best selection of games on the Boardwalk.

Jan 22, 2019


Kid Cuddler
Ollie's Bargain Outlet - Hazleton, PA
There is so many things wrong with this, I don't know where to begin.  The expression on his face says it all.

Jan 21, 2019

There's A Killer On The Court

Mark Jackson
Guard - New York Knicks
1990-91 NBA Hoops - card #205
Sometimes the strangest things are found hiding in plain sight.  Take this basketball card, for example.  On the surface, it's not remarkable.  Mark Jackson was a fine player who had a long and successful career, but this card from the 1990-91 Hoops set was nothing special.  They mass produced the hell out of trading cards in the 80's and 90's, and this isn't a rare card or Jackson's rookie season or anything out of the ordinary.  That all changed late last year when crime novelist Stephen Zerance spotted two notorious murderers among the fans pictured on the card.

In an investigation that would make Jessica Fletcher proud, Mr. Zerance made this discovery while following up on the Lyle and Erik Menendez murder trial.  The Menendez Brothers killed their wealthy parents on August 20th, 1989.  They weren't suspects at first, but they were overhead talking to each other about the murder and were arrested in March 1990.  The crime and subsequent trial became a media circus, in part due to the fact that they burned through $700,000 of their parents life insurance policy in the 7 months between the murder and their arrest.  The outlandish ways in which they spent the money have been documented and discussed in the trial and in numerous documentaries and articles.  Among the items on the list were courtside tickets to a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden.

Taking a closer look at the card, you can see that there's a black ribbon on the left shoulder of Jackson's jersey.  That ribbon was a tribute in honor of Knicks announcer John Condon who died of cancer on October 13th, 1989, and it was worn by the team during the 1989-90 season.  The Knicks played 28 home games during the spending spree before Lyle and Erik Menendez were arrested.  Since Mr. Zerance's findings, it has been confirmed by multiple news sources, including the Washington Post, that the the notorious brothers are, in fact, the two men in the background of the card.  The only missing piece to the puzzle is knowing the exact game that the photograph used in this card was taken.

Prior to this discovery going viral, this basketball card sold for about five cents.  In the last few months, it has been selling on eBay for as much as $30 dollars per card.  Kids, the lesson here is to never throw out your common cards.  You never know when they might unexpectedly become valuable.  Oh yeah, and don't kill your parents.

Jan 20, 2019

A Royal Race

Mario Kart 8
Kauffman Stadium - Kansas City, MO
Tom Martin of KCTV5, the CBS affiliate in Kansas City, shared this video on Twitter last week.  Their news helicopter was on the way to Arrowhead Stadium to get some aerial footage for the upcoming AFC Championship Game between the Chiefs and the Patriots.  On the way, they passed over the adjacent home of the Kansas City Royals and found that someone in the ballpark is playing Mario Kart 8 on their Crown Vision screen.

I hope someone raced as Princess Peach to represent the royal family of the Mushroom Kingdom.

Jan 19, 2019

Ultimate Grilled Cheese

The photo doesn't do justice to these sandwiches.  They're grilled cheese made with smokehouse cheddar, colby jack, provolone, muenster, mozzarella and tomato & basil jack, served with a steaming hot bowl of tomato soup.  The perfect meal for a snowy day in Northeast PA.

Jan 18, 2019

Hypocrisy or Ignorance?

Sanctuary Church
Newfoundland, PA
Oh, the irony of naming your church "sanctuary" while supporting someone who has been holding federal workers hostage so that he can deny sanctuary to those who are fleeing danger by coming to this country.

Jan 17, 2019

Toto Forever

Toto Forever
Max Siedentopf (Vimeo)
Somewhere in the Namid Desert on the western coast of Africa is a circle of seven pillars.  Artist Max Siedentopf set them up to hold six speakers and a solar powered MP3 player that has been playing Africa by Toto on an endless loop ever since.  His goal is to have the song play in this undisclosed location "for all eternity".  [source: CNN / Nerdist]

Jan 16, 2019

Hipster Diet Coke

I'm usually a sucker for seasonal flavors and limited edition products, but I wasn't too interested in these when I first learned about them.  Some combination of the thin hipster can, the boring packaging artwork and the fact that it's Diet Coke (I'll always be Team Pepsi) caused this to fall completely off of my radar.  However, these were on sale so it's time ti give 'em a shot.

The flavors really aren't all that different from one another.  They're Diet Coke with a mild spicy aftertaste and a slight fruit flavor.  They're not bad, but they're nothing special.  If your local grocery store charges the same for this as they do for regular Diet Coke, give it a shot, but it's not worth paying extra.

Jan 15, 2019

Snickers White

The white chocolate trend continues with this spinoff of the Snickers bar.  It's not bad; not as good as the Reese's White Peanut Butter Cups, but definitely better than the spicy and coffee flavored Snickers that they came out with last year.

Jan 14, 2019

Two Hour Woody

Cartoon Carnival: Woody Woodpecker and Friends (1991)
I found this tape at the local Salvation Army over the weekend.  Now, I like cartoons as much as the next guy, but a two hour woody is a bit of an extreme response.

Jan 13, 2019

That's A Damn Good Taco

J. Zapata Mexican Food Truck
Route 309 - Hazleton, PA
And the award for best use of a restaurant sign in a former gas station that was converted to a cigarette shop that closed and was converted to a the home base of a Mexican food truck goes to Mr. J. Zapata.

Jan 12, 2019

Cooked Breakfast Crumbles

Breakfast Biscuit Pizza
Marketside (Wal-Mart)
I'm not quite sure what a "cooked breakfast crumble" is, but it was pretty yummy.

Jan 11, 2019

The Troxler Effect

This is a phenomenon called the Troxler Effect.  If you stare at the center of this image, it will slowly fade and disappear.  If you move your head or blink, the image might come back for a little while, but it will disappear again if you keep looking directly at it (source: ZME Science).

Jan 10, 2019

Watching World War III On Pay TV

Watching World War III On Pay TV
Art NukoCarl Chaplin (1986)
More information about Carl Chaplin and the paintings in the Art Nuko series can be found at WeAreTheMutants.com.

Jan 9, 2019

I Feel Happiness When I Eat A Potato

These poorly translated Asian shirts were shared by SadAndUseless.com.  I'm not gonna lie, I would rock the "Clock Over Here" hoodie, but I'd have to pass on "Crap Your Hands".

Jan 8, 2019

The Blizzard of '96

21st Street - Philadelphia, PA
It was 23 years ago today that the biggest snowstorm in modern history fell on Philadelphia.  By the end of the Blizzard of '96, the city was buried in 31 inches of snow.  [Photo Source: Associated Press]

Jan 7, 2019

It's Happening Again...

You just can't keep a good underdog down.

Jan 6, 2019

Hey Buddy, Can I Interest You In Some Sky Jinks

Activision booth (1984)
Consumer Electronics Show - Las Vegas, NV
My favorite part of this photo is the guy who looks like Rocky Balboa putting the moves on a man while he's distracted by the kid playing Keystone Kapers.

Jan 5, 2019

I Still Think Digital Watches Are A Pretty Neat Idea

Douglas Adams
Cornwall, England (1981)
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy made it's debut on BBC Television 38 years ago today (source: BBC Archive).

Jan 4, 2019

Naked Chick

Naked Chicken Chalupa
Taco Bell (2019)
This is a taco with a folded piece of chicken as a shell.  It's stuffed with veggies and cheese and topped with avocado ranch sauce.  The little out-of-focus schnoodle in the background hoping that I drop the Naked Chicken Chalupa on the floor is Harvey.

Jan 3, 2019

And Here's To You, Mr. Robertson

Another awesome signing!  There's a lot of negativity online regarding the Phillies winter, but I think it's been a tremendous success.  Even if we don't get Harper or Machado or another starting pitcher, the 2019 Phillies are built for a playoff run.

Jan 2, 2019

Movie Of The Year

2019: After The Fall Of New York
Directed by Sergio Martino (1983)
Ring in the new year with this classic about the hunt for the last fertile woman in a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland.  Good wholesome fun for the whole family.

Jan 1, 2019

A Ship Across Time

S.S. Warrimoo
Captain John Phillips led this passenger steamer from Vancouver to Australia in the winter of 1899.  On the night of New Years Eve, the steamer crossed the International Date Line.  The front of the ship existed in January 1st, 1900 while the rear of the ship was still in December 31'st, 1899.  For a few moments, the S.S. Warrimoo existed in two different centuries at the same time.

source: John Euller (Ships and the Sea magazine - 1953)