Oct 31, 2019

Spooky Cereal Selfie

Monster Cereal coloring book
General Mills (1988)
General Mills shared this old coloring book page on Twitter.  It has each of the four Monster Cereal mascots that existed in the late 80's: Count Chocula, Franken Berry, Fruity Yummy Mummy and Boo Berry (which was always my favorite).

Oct 30, 2019

Bootleg Power Couple

Few things about the Halloween season are as amusing as the names they come up with for costumes to avoid paying license fees.

Oct 29, 2019

Extra Cheese, Hold The Smack.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Don't Do Drugs: A Rap Song (1991)
Sometimes, I like to think about what a person from the past would think if they saw scraps of our pop culture.  Take, for example, this page from a children's book.  Imagine if you were sent back in a time machine to 1950 and the only thing you had to prove that you were from the future was this image.

Oct 28, 2019

Pinball And Pork

Riksha Room (1981)
Pine St. and First Ave - Seattle, WA
Photo by Nancy Walz (First Avenue Seattle exhibit)
This is one of my favorite photographs that I've seen in a long time.  Behind the sign that advertises split pea soup, liver & onions, and roast pork dressing is a Lazer Ball pinball machine and an Asteroids Deluxe cabinet, which had just come out the year that this photo was taken.

Oct 27, 2019

They Make Pills For That Now

Dick Groat
Philadelphia Phillies (1966-1967)
On October 27th, 1965, the Phillies and Cardinals agreed on a six player trade that bought Bob Uecker, Bill White and Dick Groat to Philadelphia.  Groat, a former NL MVP, was at the end of his career by the time he came to Philadelphia.  He played for the Phillies for all of 1966 and for 10 games in 1967 before he was sent to the Giants.

In his final season on June 9th, Groat was coming back from an injury in a game against the Pirates.  His physical performance that night inspired this line in the Philadelphia Inquirer, which was mentioned in The Dirty Inning podcast a few months ago.

Oct 26, 2019

Altered Beer

Altered Beer
Kelham Island Brewery
A brewer in Sheffield, England has created a line of beer with names inspired by vintage video games, including Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Rampage, and game that inspired this month's blueberry stout: Altered Beast.  According to their website, this is an oatmeal stout made with select blend of roast malts and oats for a dark color and hints of caramel and biscuit with the added blueberries for a fresh fruity flavor.

Oct 25, 2019

Halloween Hootenanny

Halloween Hootenanny
Hosted by Joe Bob Briggs
Finally, Job Bob is having a Halloween movie marathon.  It starts on Shudder at 9 pm tonight.  They haven't announced what the movies will be, but I'm holding out hope for Halloween 3: Season Of The Witch.

Oct 24, 2019

Not Your Average Joe

The Phillies have hired their 55th manager in the history of the franchise, and he's arguably the most accomplished manager the team has ever brought into the fold.  His last managing job was a ten year period with the New York Yankees.  In that time, he had a winning season every year and averaged 91 wins per season.

I cannot overstate how excellent this news is.  Joe Girardi is a highly experienced and highly successful manager with a reputation of adapting to analytics without overusing them and allowing them to hinder his ability to make decisions.  I believe that replacing Gabe Kapler with Joe Girardi is an upgrade on the level of the Phillies signing Bryce Harper to replace Nick Williams.

Oct 23, 2019

Futuristic Buick Of The Past

1989 Buick Reatta
This photo was shared by Chad Tindle on The CRT Collective.  You've got to love the futuristic touchscreen display on the dashboard, though it's a bit surreal to see the September 29, 2019 date at the bottom of the monitor.

Oct 22, 2019

The Backfire Effect

The Oatmeal
Artwork by Matthew Inman
Click here and scroll down to read the entire comic.

Oct 21, 2019

The Dark Side Of 80's Arcades

The Game Room
East Harlem, NY
Photo by Oscar Vargas (1985)
This photo was published in the award winning Philippe Bourgois work: In Search of Respect - Selling Crack in El Barrio.  It's a fascinating study of an arcade in East Harlem which was a front for a crackhouse, including first hand accounts from the proprietors.  Apparently, the inside of the locked arcade cabinets were great for hiding drugs.

Oct 20, 2019

Getting Together For Breakfast

All Together Cereal
Kellogg's (2019)
The outer package makes it seem like this is a box with a bunch of different types of cereal all mixed together, but that's not what it is.  This is a special, limited edition variety pack that includes individual boxes of Raisin Bran, Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops and Frosted Mini Wheats.  Kellogg's is donating $50,000 to GLAAD to support their anti-bullying and LGBTQ advocacy work.

Oct 19, 2019

The Gold Standard Seasonal Sandwich

The McRib
McDonalds (2019)
This is the perfect limited edition fast food sandwich.  I don't think I'd get these very often if they were available all the time, but the fact that they only one out once in a while makes me enjoy them when they come around.  Something about the combination of pickles, onions, pork and barbecue sauce make them a tasty snack.

Oct 18, 2019

When Games Were Everywhere

Golden Axe at Osco Drug
Photo by Michael Galinsky (Rumur)
Published in Malls Across America
When I was growing up in the 80's, it was not at all uncommon to see arcade machines all over town at various places of business.  They were in the lobbies of diners and restaurants.  They were in bars and laundromats.  They were outside convenience stores and gas stations, and in the entrance way of drug stores and grocery stores.  Their disappearance was so slow and gradual that I didn't even notice it happening.  One day, they were just... gone.

I remember the day that it occurred to me that they had almost all disappeared.  It was 2002 and I was driving on I-80 West from Hazleton to Omaha.  I stopped at a gas station in Ohio and there was an Arkanoid machine.  I stood there for over an hour breaking bricks with the paddle and remembering what it was like to find these games all over town, in every town.

Now, in 2019, arcade cabinets become almost as rare as jukeboxes or pay telephones.  Once in a while, I come across a machine out in the wild.  Not a lovingly restored cabinet at a retro arcade, but a game that is still in service at a public place, waiting to be played, and periodically emptied of its quarters.  I imagine that some of them haven't been moved in decades and have become as much a part of the permanent surroundings as the restaurant booths and cash register that they stand watch over.  One day, the last of them will stop working and these once iconic parts of our culture will truly have disappeared.  Until then, I will always have a quarter and a few minutes to forget about the modern world and just play.

Oct 17, 2019

Pro Wrestling Is Fun Again

AEW Dynamite: Episode 3
The Liacouras Center - Philadelphia, PA
I've been a fan of professional wrestling since before I was in Kindergarten.  I mainly watched WWF when I was in elementary and middle school, and I got into WCW and ECW in the mid 90's.  When I first got on the internet in the late 90's, I joined a couple of tape trading message boards where I got my first exposure to lucha libre and puroresu.  I was burned out a little bit in the early 2000's after WCW and ECW went out of business and the WWF/E product started to be disappointing with poor writing and continuity.  I still kept up with it, but not like I did when I was a kid.  Then, in 2005, I saw that Kenta Kobashi was scheduled to appear in a Ring of Honor show in Philadelphia.  I bought tickets and had an incredible time.  I ended up going to just about every ROH show in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey for the next few years, and as I became more familiar with their wrestlers, I was exposed to other promotions that they worked, like CZW and Chikara.

After college, I started to work for Nestle and I didn't have as much time to keep up with pro wrestling as I once did.  I subscribed to the WWE 24/7 premium channel, and then the WWE Network when they moved to a streaming service, but I found that when I had time to watch, I would gravitate toward the older shows that I watched when I was a kid.  As for the new material, the wrestling matches themselves were usually very good, but the storylines, the writing and the commentary was so horrible that it became hard to watch.  These days, companies like ROH and TNA are a shell of their former selves, and the only programming I truly enjoyed was NXT.  I began to wonder if I had just outgrown wrestling.  That all changed just over a year ago when  Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks self-funded a show called All In.  The show was phenomenal, and it developed into a new promotion that has made professional wrestling fun again - All Elite Wrestling.

Cody is a really awesome dude.  I look like an absolute dork, but this is what a happy wrestling fan looks like.
Yesterday was the third episode of their new weekly TNT series, AEW Dynamite.  I almost didn't go because I wake up at around 4 am for work, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see the first AEW show in Philadelphia, and to support this incredible company.

Here are the results of the show:
Hundreds of these rained down when The Young Bucks made their entrance.  Looks like they're from Double Or Nothing.
The show was incredible from top to bottom.  I was a little disappointed that "The Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels didn't wrestle.  He wrestled on the first ROH show I ever went to in 2005.  I met him after the show and he was a super nice dude, and I've been a big fan of his ever since.  He was scheduled to wrestle as Kazarian's tag team partner in the opening match of the main show, but he was attacked by the Lucha Brothers and had to be replaced by Scorpio Sky.  While I would have liked to see him wrestle, I'm very interested in seeing where the story goes from here.

Riho is really getting over with the crowd in a big way as the first ever AEW Women's Champion.  She's developed a pretty awesome character where she's fighting as the underdog despite being the champion, and she outsmarts her opponents to get the victory without it feeling like a cheap win.

I wasn't sure what was going on with the Jurassic Express match at first.  It was supposed to be Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus, but Luchasaurus didn't even come out to the ring to accompany the team.  I was a little bummed at first, but The Lucha Brothers, Jungle Boy and Marko Stunt did an incredible job telling a story in the ring, with Pentagon and Fenix not taking their smaller opponents seriously, which led to Jurassic Express capitalizing on their opponents over-confidence throughout the match.  Eventually, The Lucha Brothers started to take the match more seriously and got the win.

After the show, Marko Stunt explained what happened that led him to replace Luchasaurus.

The Omega/Page vs Moxley/Pac match took place on Kenny Omega's 36th birthday, which led the fans to chant "happy birthday" after his entrance.  Jon Moxley, who was a main event star of Philadelphia-based indy promotion CZW prior to his run in the WWE as Dean Ambrose, got a loud "CZW" and "welcome home" chant.

The match was absolutely wild and culminated in a standoff between Kenny Omega, wielding a barbed wire wrapped broom against Jon Moxley, who carried a barbed wire baseball bat.  Pac confronted Moxley for using a weapon, which inspired Moxley to attack and abandon his tag team partner.  This set up a match between Moxley and Pac for next week.

Chris Jericho defended his AEW World Championship for the very first time at this show, and he did it in a Philadelphia Street Fight against one of the best young wrestlers in the world today.  Darby Allin completely won me over in his time limit draw against Cody Rhodes at Fyter Fest earlier this year.  He has an intriguing character and an in-ring style that commands your attention.

This match delivered everything I was hoping for and more.  Toward the end, Jericho duct taped Allin's wrists behind his back.  Allin fought back with a ridiculously cool sequence of offensive maneuvers without the use of his arms, but his comeback was cut short by Jake Hager shoving him off of the top rope, which allowed Jericho to lock in the Walls Of Jericho for a submission victory.

One of the most unexpected things of the night for me was when Teddy Hart wandered around the crowd with his white persian cat, Mr. Money.  I didn't get my phone out in time to take a photo, but the dude who sat next to me asked and got this selfie with the feline carrying phenom.  His name is Sam, and you should check out more of his pics @ProWrestlingEverything on Instagram.

There were three AEW Dark matches on the card - one at the beginning of the show and two at the end.  It was awesome surprise to see Joey Janela, Brandon Cutler and Nyla Rose.  To be very honest, I'm not at all a fan of Leva Bates or the gimmick that she and Peter Avalon are using in AEW, so I would have preferred to see Nyla Rose wrestle literally anyone else on the roster, but they can't all be winners.  However, the last match of the night was a ridiculously fun eight man tag team match had me cheering like I was 7 years old all over again.  MJF came out with The Elite and popped the crowd when he faked out the crowd, pretending as if he was going to do a tope, and then telling the fans to stick it.  His character of being the asshole heel that just happens to be friends with the beloved good guys is one of the most entertaining things I've seen in professional wrestling in a long time, and he plays it perfectly.

After the match, Cody Rhodes closed out the night by addressing the crowd and inviting a kid into the ring who had an incredible cosplay of Orange Cassidy.  He had his looks and mannerisms down perfectly!  They showed him on the screen at the beginning of the show and the crowd popped, but that was nothing compared to the pop that he got when he pinned Cody Rhodes.  Check it out:

UPDATE: In the days after the show, the "Clementine Cassidy" kid has gone viral.  The story has been reported by ABC News and across many wrestling news and mainstream media outlets.  His name is Nate Richardson, and he's from Toms River, NJ.  His parents got him tickets to this show as a birthday present.  That has to be one of the most awesome 11th birthdays that anyone has ever had!  Way to go, Nate!

Oct 16, 2019


I shared this on Tumblr a couple of years ago, and it's been flagged as being potentially in violation of their community guidelines.  If two tubby dudes dressed as an avocado is wrong, I don't want to be right.

Oct 15, 2019

Grab Your Stopwatch

Tom Seaver
1969 World Series: Game 4
This game was played 50 years ago today.  The Mets were cruising through most of the game, but in the top of the 9th, Frank Robinson and Boog Powell singled, and Brooks Robinson hit a sacrifice fly for the Orioles to tie the game.  The Mets would go on to win the game in the bottom of the 10th with Seaver getting the win in a 10 inning complete game.

Oct 14, 2019

Happy Columbus Day, Dude

Bill & Ted's Excellent Cereal
Ralston (1991)
I was a huge Bill & Ted fan when I was a kid.  My grandfather took me to see the first Bill & Ted movie at the Church Hill Mall Theater when it first came out, and I watched the cartoon series that came out not long afterward.  I have a vivid memory of staying home when I was sick (which didn't happen often), and my grandfather rented Bill & Ted's Excellent Video Game Adventure from Blockbuster.  It wasn't the greatest game in the world, but it was a nice surprise for a sick kid, and it was definitely better than school.

Before I moved to Florida with my Dad, I spent the summer with him.  He knew I loved all things Bill & Ted, so when I got there, he had a box of Bill & Ted's Excellent Cereal waiting for me to have for breakfast.  I remember thinking it was weird that he kept it in the refrigerator, but bugs were a bigger problem in South Florida compared to Pennsylvania.

The box came with two prizes.  One was a cassette tape case that looked like the phone booth from the cartoon series.  Unlike most cereal prizes which came inside the box, it was shrink wrapped to the front of the box.  It only held about four loose tapes, so it became a toy that my action figures used when they wanted to travel back in time.  The other surprise was on the back of the box where you could cut our and collect all four historical postcards.

I just ordered this unopened box on eBay.  As you can see, I'm just an ordinary, mature adult who purchases 28 year old cereal off of the internet - not a strange weirdo at all.  As luck would have it, the box arrived on Saturday and included this Christopher Columbus postcard on the back.

Oct 13, 2019

The Allentown Cheesesteak

Vince's Cheesesteak
Bloomsburg Fair
I'm torn on this one.  I absolutely love cheesesteaks, and I've had quite a lot of variations of cheesesteaks from many different restaurants over the years, and while Vince's Cheesesteak tasted just fine, it's not going to crack my top ten list of favorite cheesesteaks.

First of all, the meat doesn't taste like a cheesesteak.  It tastes like unseasoned ground hamburger meat.  Also, I'm just not digging the amount or flavor of American cheese as much as I do whiz or provolone.  Speaking of cheese, they kind of skimp on it.  You can't really see cheese in this photo, and I couldn't really taste it either.  On the plus side, I'm very cool with the fried onions, pickles, cherry peppers and homemade sauce, and the roll was packed with so much that you have to eat it with a knife and fork.

Vince's stand at the Bloomsburg Fair always has a line and just about everyone in earshot was raving about how much they enjoy them.  It was a tasty sandwich and I respect the creativity, but this just isn't my style when I'm looking for a cheesesteak.

Oct 12, 2019

The Goat Whisperer

This friendly goat hopped up on the fence and let me scratch the back of his neck and under his chin for about ten minutes, which earned me the nickname of "the goat whisperer" from random passers by at the Bloomsburg Fair.  I didn't notice until I looked at this photo later on that he was smiling.

Oct 11, 2019

The Perfect Gift For Mommy's Little Psychopath

Light & Sound Blaster With Bayonet
Bloomsburg Fair (2019)
If you're a good parent, you'll take your kids for cherry slushies before buying them this toy.  That way, they can smear it all over themselves to simulate the blood and guts while they shout "die, die die!" and stab each other while pulling the trigger to enjoy those enthralling sound effects.

Hey mom, good news... batteries are included!

Oct 10, 2019

Closing The Book On Kapler

Gabe Kapler
Philadelphia Phillies manager: 2018-2019
Six days after firing pitching coach Chris Young, the Phillies front office has announced that Gabe Kapler will not be returning to manage the team in 2020.  John Middleton took forever to make up his mind, and

Kapler seems like a good guy, but he was a poor fit for the city and the team.  His lack of managerial experience was evident throughout his two years with the Phillies.  Far too often, it felt as if he entered the game with a pre-game strategy, but no ability to make adjustments when the reality of the game in front of him didn't match the hypothetical scenarios predicted by his analytics.  Additionally, he came across like he was trying to be one of the boys instead of being the boss.  He failed to hold players accountable in a meaningful way for a repeated lack of hustle, and was a difficult person to take seriously.  I'm sure that the players liked him, but it's easy to like a boss when he turns a blind eye to playing video games on the job.  It's poor leadership, plain and simple.  This team is in desperate need of an experienced leader who will bring more to the team than a cheerleader with a one-dimensional analytic approach.

If I had to guess, I would say that Buck Showalter will be hired to replace Kapler, but the team has also been connected to Joe Girardi and Joe Maddon.  Whoever it ends up being, I hope they have the backbone to stand up to the front office and make their own decisions, and to offer more than excuses and platitudes in the the post-game.  A new manager cannot be the only change the Phillies make if they hope to contend in 2020, but it's an important first step.

Oct 9, 2019

An Eye For Art

Edgar Allen Poe portrait in colored pencil
Lawrence M. Sherman - Ashland, PA
Second Award - Bloomsburg Fair

Oct 8, 2019

For All Of Your Hall & Oates Emergencies

Since December 2011, the Callin' Oates hotline has been available 24/7.  Just call this Colorado Springs number and you'll have your choice of four Hall & Oates tunes to listen to over the phone.   Just dial 719-26-OATES.  Call now.  The operator is standing by.

Oct 7, 2019

Pass The Blood Red Crayon

The Occult Coloring Book
Troubador Press (1971)
This falls under the category of things that would have made my grandmother lose her mind if she ever found it in the house.  I never had this or even knew it existed, but it was recently written about in We Are The Mutants and now I want to find it.  Who wouldn't want to kick back with a box of Crayola and spend some time being buds with Beelzebub?

Oct 6, 2019

Pump Up The Spam

Pumpkin Spice (2019)
I didn't add this to waffles as the can suggested, but it made a surprisingly tasty Spam N' Egg breakfast.

Oct 5, 2019

Uncovering A Mystery

Mystery Screensaver
Windows '98
Earlier this year, Matt from Dinosaur Dracula wrote about the Windows Mystery Screensaver from the 90's.  I had forgotten that this existed, but now I want it back.  This article led me to Screenga, an excellent YouTube channel of vintage screensavers that have been preserved as videos.

Oct 4, 2019

Tender Loving Clean

Betty Brite Dry Cleaners
Wynnefield Ave - Philadelphia, PA
I'm not sure when this place opened, but it looks like it had been here for a long time.

Oct 3, 2019

Um... I Have A Question

No Question
Laurel Mall - Hazleton, PA
Yes, hello.  Quick question here.  What drugs do you have to be taking to design, purchase or wear this outfit?

Oct 2, 2019

Steak Cake

Fondant Cake
Becky Gallup - Catawissa, PA
Bloomsburg Fair First Prize Winner (2019)
I swear, I thought this was a piece of steak when I first saw it, but nope.  It's an incredibly realistic fondant cake that took home the blue ribbon at the fair this year.

Oct 1, 2019

A Thoughtful And Detailed Review

Sizzlin Hot Funnel Cake
Bloomsburg Fair
Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope.  Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope.  Nope, nope, nope, nope nope.  And furthermore, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope.

Additionally, no.  No, no, no, no, no, no.  No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

That is all.