Nov 30, 2019

The Battle Against The Gorgon Invaders


Atlantis Shadowbox Art
Artovision
This impressive artwork perfectly captures Atlantis, one of the greatest games for the Atari 2600.  Like Missile Command, there is no way to win this game.  You can only hold out against the Gorgon invaders and defend the underwater city until they overwhelm you and destroy the city.  When that happens, a small ship is shown escaping with the last survivors of Atlantis, which sets up the game's sequel - Cosmic Ark.

Nov 29, 2019

Multiple Bean Adjectives


Dr Pepper Baked Beans
Serious Bean Company (2019)
They're serious, they're sassy, they're sweet, and they're soda-flavored.  They really do taste like Dr Pepper.  The reviews that I've read for these have skewed negative, but I have to disagree.  I'm not the biggest fan of the soda, but the beans are pretty damn tasty!

Nov 28, 2019

The River Queen


Carol Shaw
Activision (1982)
River Raid was published 37 years ago today.  It was designed and published by Carol Shaw, and is a true classic that is just as fun to play in 2019 as it was in 1982.

Nov 27, 2019

Twas The Night Before De Ern Karrich...


Raymond The Amish Comic
Cinema & Drafthouse - West Hazleton, PA
There's no better way to spend Thanksgiving Eve than with a technology-loving Amish comedian.  Raymond The Amish Comic, who is best known on the national stage from his appearances on Comedy Central and Season 10 of America's Got Talent performed earlier tonight at the Cinema & Drafthouse on Broad Street in West Hazleton.

I've heard of Raymond, but I haven't seen or heard him before, and I deliberately avoided his stuff in the weeks leading up to this show because I wanted to go in fresh.  I had no idea what to expect, but what we got was an hour and forty minutes of some of the funniest stand up comedy I've ever seen.  My god, this man is hysterically funny!  He started off with the differences between Hazleton and West Hazleton's Christmas decorations, which were both hilarious and true, and the show just kept getting better from there.


I'm no good at writing reviews of comedians (or anything else, for that matter), and I don't want to spoil any of his jokes.  I'll just close by saying that if you have the opportunity to see Raymond The Amish Comic, please do so.  You will have a great time!

Dad and I with Raymond the Amish Comic on Thanksgiving Eve - 2019.

Nov 26, 2019

A Giant Sized Breakfast


Honeycomb Cereal
Post (2019)
The Big Show hasn't wrestled since November of last year, so his appearance on the front of Honeycomb boxes to promote three free months of the WWE Network came as a bit of a surprise to some wrestling fans.  However, unlike scripts written by Vince McMahon's creative team, this idea has logic and continuity.  Thirty years ago, the great Andre The Giant appeared in a Honeycomb commercial along with a robot and a group of cereal munching children.  I can't say for sure, but I think they may have dubbed over Andre's voice with another actor (his French accent was very thick and sometimes difficult to understand), but the Hall of Famer looks to be having a great time filming.  He was said to have loved his time working on The Princess Bride.  It's a shame he didn't get to do more acting prior to his death in January 1993.

Click the image above to watch the commercial
Although Andre was never pictured on the actual box of Honeycomb Cereal, he was one of eight posters that you could find as the prize in box back in 1989.  The asking price on eBay for the posters range between $10 and $50 with the Andre one tending to be the most expensive of the series.

The ad to the left was shared by The Collectorate.  The poster on the right is from MugsFrank who is selling it on eBay.

Nov 25, 2019

Cheez Pizza


Stuffed Cheez-It Pizza
Pizza Hut (2019)
These were a little overpriced for four squares that weren't much bigger than a deck of cards each, but they were tasty.  The outer shell has the flavor of a Cheez-It cracker, but it's got a firm, cake-like texture.  The inside is stuffed with mozzarella cheese, and it's served with a marinara dipping sauce.  If they lowered the price or made these available in the grocery store, I'd get them again.

Nov 24, 2019

Cherry Pie For Thanksgiving


Warrant - Firehouse
Dirty 30 Tour and 27th Anniversary Tour
Penn's Peak - Jim Thorpe, PA
This is a nice venue with great acoustics that gets at least a few 80's bands every year.  This show was a co-headliner of two late 80's glam metal bands


Firehouse hit it big a little bit too late for their own good.  Their debut album was released in September, 1990.  It was a massive success that went double platinum with hits like Don't Treat Me Bad, All She Wrote, and a song that became the wedding song for a countless number of couples in the 90's, Love Of A Lifetime.  Unfortunately for the band, that album came out exactly one year before Nirvana's Nevermind changed rock music forever.  By the time Firehouse released their follow up album in 1992, their style of rock and roll had become overshadowed by grunge and mid-90's punk resurgence.

The band performed an excellent set.  C.J. Snare sounds exactly the same as he did when I was in middle school, but perhaps more shocking, he looks almost the same too.  It's hard to believe that guy is going to be 60 years old in less than a month.


Warrant was touring for the 30th anniversary of their debut album, Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich.  All of the songs from that album were written by Warrant's original lead singer Jani Lane, but the band parted ways with him in the 2000's.  He was replaced by current lead singer, Robert Mason (from Lynch Mob) in 2008.  Sadly, Lane passed away in 2011, but Mason is a fantastic performer whose vocals and style blend excellently with the band.

The band ran through the majority of Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich in the order that the songs appeared on the album, including Sometimes She Cries and Heaven.  The only exceptions were the omission of In The Sticks and swapping the order of tracks 9 and 10 (Ridin' High and Cold Sweat).  The rest of the set was a selection of songs from Cherry Pie (1990), Dog Eat Dog (1992) and Louder Harder Faster (2017).  Included is this mix was I Saw Red, a ballad that I had on countless mix tapes that my sister made for me when we were in middle school.  Firehouse joined Warrant on the stage for the closer, Cherry Pie, with Robert Mason singing with C.J. Snare throughout.

It was a great show.  The only thing that I wish I could have heard that they didn't play was my favorite Warrant song - April 2031.  It's a nightmare vision of a world in which the damage to the environment has reached such a level that it has led to world peace, but only because there's nothing left worth fighting for.  It was off of their third album from 1992 and was never a single (despite the fact that it could have had an incredible music video), so I didn't expect that it would be part of this setlist.  Maybe it will be if they do a 30th anniversary tour for Dog Eat Dog in 2022, I'll get to see them perform it live.  If that happens, we'll be only 9 years away from the year described in the song.  Crazy!

I didn't get a t-shirt at this show, but I didn't go home empty handed thanks to a guitar pick that was thrown into the crowd by Warrant.  I'm not sure which of them tossed it. I didn't even know it was thrown until it hit my hair, but I'm thankful to have it as a memory of a very fun show.

Nov 23, 2019

The Natural Disaster


Thirty years ago today, John Tenta made his pay-per-view debut as The Canadian Earthquake - a member of The King's Court team at WWF Survivor Series.  His name would be shortened to Earthquake by Wrestlemania VI, and he would go on to enter a feud with Hulk Hogan throughout the summer of 1990.

This photo was taken in the fall of 1990 and was shared by John Tenta's son on Reddit.  Earthquake is lounging back on the sofa with two of his kids playing Tetris on Game Boy.

Nov 22, 2019

Someone Won Ecto-1


Ghostbusters 2 was released on home video 30 years ago today.  During the year, one of their cross-promotional partners was Fuji Film.  If you bought a special three pack of film, you got a free die cast toy of Ectomobile.  You could also enter the contest to win the actual Ectomobile from the film, which was said to be worth $40,000.

Nov 21, 2019

The Night Has Fallen. I'm Lying Awake.


Tonight, two former Phillies managers will be sleeping on the streets of Philadelphia.  Larry Bowa (2001-2004) and Charlie Manuel (2005-2013) are working with Covenant House and their Sleep Out movement to raise money and awareness to give homeless youth a warm meal and a safe place to sleep at night.

You can donate to their cause by visiting SleepOut.org.

Nov 20, 2019

South Dakota Is On Meth


I thought this was a joke, but it's not.  This is actually the anti-drug slogan and campaign that the government of South Dakota has just rolled out... at a cost of $450,000.

Nov 19, 2019

The Big Piece Turns 40

Ryan Howard at the 2008 World Series Championship parade in Philadelphia.

Happy 40th birthday to one of the greatest Phillies of all time.

Nov 18, 2019

You Put The Milk In The Coconut


Toasted Coconut Cheerios
General Mills (2019)
This is the best cereal I've had in a long time.

Nov 17, 2019

The Return Of The Christmas Catalog


One of the most exciting things to come in the mail when I was growing up was the Sears Wishbook.  I suppose that might be hard to understand for people who grew up with the internet, but the ability to look through a catalog that had a huge section dedicated to toys, video games and other awesome goodies that you didn't even know existed was an incredible experience.  My grandmother would give me the catalog when I was a little kid and told me to circle anything that I liked so that Santa would know what to keep his eye on. Sure enough, on Christmas morning, at least one or two things that I had circled was waiting for me to open.

Now, in 2019, not only have catalogs become largely obsolete, but so have the brick and mortar stores that those catalogs represented.  All of the Sears and J.C. Penney stores in my area have closed.  Toys R Us has closed.  These days in Northeast PA, you're pretty much limited to Wal-Mart, Target and a series of dollar stores, none of whom have a catalog.

Amazon was the last company I ever expected to receive a catalog from, but not long ago, this was waiting for me in my mailbox.  It's not even close to being the same size as the Sears Wishbook, but it was still a pleasant surprise to see a paper catalog filled with different toys that are available this season, complete with a page of stickers to use as gift tags.  Very cool, Amazon!

On a side note, if you want to see some of the old catalogs of the past, there is an incredible archive online called WishbookWeb where you can leaf through high quality scans of many different catalogs that were sent out in the 20th century.

Nov 16, 2019

Brawl In The Motor City


Dick The Bruiser vs The Sheik
Olympia Stadium - Detroit, MI
This awesome marquee photo was recently shared on Twitter by Pro Wrestling Stories.  On the night of August 31st, 1974, Dick The Bruiser faced The Sheik in a match that resulted in a brawl on the floor and a double disqualification.  According to the write up from the Detroit Free Press on September 2nd of that year, the card also featured Bobo Brazil, Abdullah The Butcher, George "The Animal" Steele and a 19 year old Raymond Rougeau who was already a three year veteran by this point in his career.

Not long after this show, Dick The Bruiser and The Sheik would return to Detroit to face off in a Death Strap Match, but not before Olympic Stadium hosted Evel Knievel, Marvin Gaye and Elvis Presley.  That's a pretty impressive lineup.  You've got to love the 70's.

Nov 15, 2019

The Veggies Are Just For Show


Arby's
Pittston, PA
These were both very good, but I liked the Garlic Butter Steak sandwich best.  The lettuce and tomato are a nice touch.  They make me look like I'm trying to eat something healthy while I stuff my face with butter garlic covered meat.

Nov 14, 2019

It Was A Dump, But It Was Our Dump


Veterans Stadium
Philadelphia, PA (1970's)
I absolutely love Citizens Bank Park and I wouldn't trade it for any ballpark in the country, past or present, but you have to admire the 70's colors of the Vet.

Nov 13, 2019

Just When They Think They've Got The Answers...


Last night, CM Punk made his return to professional wrestling with an appearance on WWE Backstage, which airs on FS1.  My understanding is that he is an employee of Fox Sports, not WWE, and that he's been given creative freedom to review the product.

This should be interesting.

Nov 12, 2019

A Monument To Reason


Georgia Guidestones
Elberton, GA
I recently learned about this from a TopTenz video called Top 10 Mysterious World Landmarks and was instantly fascinated by it.  The Georgia Guidestones are a stone monument that was unveiled on March 22, 1980.  It was financed by a man using a pseudonym who represented a group that remains anonymous to this day, and it is built above a time capsule, but without a date that they recommend it be dug up.

The inscription on the monument is written in English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Traditional Chinese, and Russian, and the focal point is its list of these ten principles which are meant to be guidestones to an Age of Reason:

  1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
  2. Guide reproduction wisely — improving fitness and diversity.
  3. Unite humanity with a living new language.
  4. Rule passion — faith — tradition — and all things with tempered reason.
  5. Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
  6. Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.
  7. Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
  8. Balance personal rights with social duties.
  9. Prize truth — beauty — love — seeking harmony with the infinite.
  10. Be not a cancer on the earth — Leave room for nature — Leave room for nature.

Nov 11, 2019

Seventies Snack Run


Trade Advertisement
National Supermarket (1975)
When's the last time you saw somebody writing a check to pay for their groceries.  For that matter, when was the last time you saw a box of Screaming Yellow Zonkers.

From the looks of this photo, the woman writing the check is on one hell of an epic snack run  There are bags of Fritos and Ruffles, a box of Celeste Pizza, cans of Planters Cocktail Peanuts and Pringles, a couple of bags of Bachman's Pretzels and a package of Oreo Cookies.  Bonus points if you can spot the boxes of Slim Jims and Pop Tarts in less than a minute.

Some of these products are before my time.  I've never heard of Cheddar Taters, but they sound pretty good.  I can't say I've ever seen a box of Snack Croutons or Nabisco Cheese Flings either.

Nov 10, 2019

The Lionheart and The Iceman


AEW Full Gear
Royal Farms Arena - Baltimore, MD
The entire show was incredible.  I would have preferred to not see MJF turn on Cody Rhodes.  I thought his heelish character as the asshole friend of the company's main good guy was interesting and something that I can't remember seeing in pro wrestling.

My favorite match of the night was the championship match between Jericho and Cody, but my favorite moment of the night took place just a few minutes into that match.  Jericho rolled outside of the ring to catch a breather, and he ripped the notebook off of the table of one of the judges.  That judge was Dean Malenko.  The two former WCW Cruiserweight Champions of the late 90's stared each other down for a few seconds in an awesome tribute to their feud 21 years ago in WCW.

The Man of 1.000 Holds vs The Man of 1,004 Holds.

Nov 9, 2019

A Floppy Artifact


Free Trial Installation Disk
America Online (1995)
From the time I was a teenager until at least my mid-twenties, every house in America got AOL free trial discs sent to their home at least once a week.  I remember in the mid 90's, they would sometimes be 3.5" disks, but that didn't last too long before CD Rom discs took over.

I remember one of the disks that I got had a form that you could send back if you needed a different format than the one that they sent you.  One of the options was a 5.25" floppy disk.  These were obsolete for about a decade by this point.  Even my grandmother's old Tandy from the mid 80's used the harder, smaller 3.5" disks, so I was pretty surprised to see it was an option.  Frankly, I didn't think a computer that only had a 5.25" disk would be capable of going online.

I sent away for it, and sure enough it came in.  My computer didn't take 5.25" disks and I couldn't get AOL anyway since they never had a local phone number for West Hazleton, but it was an oddity so I was glad to have it anyway.  It's gotten lost over the years.  The one in this picture is from MegoCollector.com.  According to their article about it, they sell on eBay for a hundred bucks these days.  It's crazy to think that the junk mail of my teenage years that people couldn't wait to throw away are sought after collectibles in 2019.  It makes you wonder what things that are junk today will be collected and sold by people in the future.

Nov 8, 2019

Roast Turkey Is The New Pumpkin Spice


Roasted Turkey potato chips
Pringles (2019)
This may not come as too big of a surprise because they are made from potatoes, but these kind of tasted like mashed potatoes with turkey gravy.  Not bad!

Nov 7, 2019

Forty Years Of Happy Meals


Happy Meal 40th Anniversary Toys
McDonalds (2019)
Starting today, McDonald's will be re-releasing some of their vintage toys to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Happy Meal.  The promotion will last five days, and includes toys from Hello Kitty, Space Jam, My Little Pony, Furby, Tamagotchi, Beanie Babies and Hot Wheels.

My favorite toy in this collection by far is the Changables hamburger.  The Changables were a series of Happy Meal toys that first came out in 1987.  They looked like food, but you could transform them into something else.  Series 1 (1987) and Series 2 (1989) Changables turned into robots while Series 3 (1990) turned into dinosaurs.  I was in elementary school at the time, and I can tell you first hand that these things became a hot collectible at recess.  My friends and I would trade our duplicates with each other to try to collect the whole set.

It's a little funny that the Happy Meal was first released in 1979, but the oldest toy from this 40th Anniversary collection is from 1988.  It makes me wonder if they have a warehouse of old toys somewhere, and these aren't new toys, but ones that they produced too many of that have been in storage all this time.

Nov 6, 2019

Buttholes At The Tower


Tower Records
New York City, NY (1985)
The video chandelier is showing music videos or album promos as it looks down over the imports section.  At the center of the vinyl racks, you can see the Live PCPPEP album from the Butthole Surfers.  The black square at the far left against the wall is one of the private listening booths where shoppers could listen to the albums to decide which one they were going to buy.

Nov 5, 2019

Treasure From The Past


Candy Aisle Shelves
Woolworth (1953)
I love this photograph.  The center shelf has multiple boxes of Topps baseball cards on display.  To the left of the baseball cards are Wings - a series of Topps trading cards that featured military planes from around the world.  I can't tell what all of the products are around the cards, but there's Bazooka gum to the left, and the bottom shelf has a selection of chocolate bars, including Mars, Oh Henry, Clark and something called Tangos that I never heard of.

Topps baseball cards were selling for a nickel a pack back then.  These days, an unopened pack would sell for thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars.  In fact, someone has an empty box on eBay right now for almost $2,500.  No cards or even empty wrappers - just the cardboard box that the packs sat in at the store.

Nov 4, 2019

Chalupa Inspired Ranting


Toasted Cheddar Chalupa
Taco Bell (2019)
This was pretty good, but like most Taco Bell food, I don't expect it to stick around for long.

While I enjoy Taco Bell, I don't go there too often and I think I've figured out why.  They don't have an identity with their menu.  Here's what I mean: when I think of McDonalds, I think of the Big Mac, the Quarter Pounder and McNuggets.  When I think of Burger King, I think of the Whopper.  When I think of Taco Bell, I can't really think of any specific menu items.  Everything they have tastes pretty good, but it sounds a bit generic.  I'll bet if you asked ten people in a Taco Bell parking lot to tell you the difference between a Chalupa and a Gordita, they wouldn't have a clue.  Hell, I'll bet you that most of the staff really couldn't explain it.

It's not that the food is bad.  In fact, everything on their menu is quite good, but nothing stands out as being especially memorable.  Sometimes, I'll get a craving for a Whopper and so I'll go to Burger King, but when I'm in the mood for a taco or a burrito, I would be just as happy to go to Sheetz as I would Taco Bell because their food doesn't have an identity.  Pretty much any place that sells a taco or a burrito is going to make something that tastes like Taco Bell.

Finally, on the rare occasion that they do create something memorable, like the Meximelt or the Santa Fe Steak Gordita, it gets lost in a sea of similar sounding foods on the menu, and is eventually discontinued.  I enjoyed this Toasted Cheddar Chalupa, but it wouldn't surprise me a bit if it was off the menu the next time I went in.  Burger King and McDonalds come out with new stuff all the time, but I know I can always get my Big Mac, McNuggets and Whopper.  With Taco Bell, I know I'll get beef, chicken, steak or pork with some random veggies in some sort of shell.  Tasty, but poorly marketed, so I've forgotten what I've eaten before I even stuff the extra sauce packets in the refrigerator.

Alright, that's enough of my silly rant.  Try the Toasted Cheddar Chalupa, if they still have it and you can remember what it's called by the time you get there.

Nov 3, 2019

The Garbage Pail At The Drive In


Jerked Joebob and Boob Tube Briggs
Garbage Pail KidsRevenge Of Oh The Horror-Ible (2019)
Card 11a and 11b of the latest Garbage Pail Kids series was done in tribute to the world's greatest host, Mr. Joe Bob Briggs.  The Lone Star beer bottle and cans are an especially nice touch.

Nov 2, 2019

A Priceless Upgrade


On the morning of Halloween, the Phillies announced that they have hired former Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price as the pitching coach.  Price began his career as a pitching coach with the Seattle Mariners in 2001, and in his first year in the role, he won the USA Today Pitching Coach of the Year Award.  He served in that role with the Mariners through the end of the 2006 season and has been highly praised by Pat Gillick and Jamie Moyer, both of whom worked with him in Seattle.  Moyer remarked about how much Price cares about his pitchers and how he was able to earn the players trust by learning what each pitcher did well and how those talents can be maximized.  This is a stark contrast from Chris Young, who by all accounts was a terrible communicator who tried a one-size-fits-all approach that failed miserably, as such methods usually do.

His career as a pitching coach continued with the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2007-2009 and with the Cincinnati Reds from 2010-2013, and he became the Reds manager before the start of the 2014 season.  This is where things get interesting, and where he goes from being a highly qualified and skilled pitching coach to a man who is a perfect fit for the city of Philadelphia. In a 2015 pre-game press conference, Price scolded Cincinnati reporters for snooping out the fact that catcher Devin Mesoraco was not with the team and therefore couldn't be brought in to pinch hit.  He argued that by doing so, the reporters are giving a tactical advantage to the opposing team.  He also mentioned that he was upset at reporters who followed and reported that Tucker Barnhart was flying in from Louisville before the team had the opportunity to discuss the situation with Kyle Skipworth.  In other words, Skipworth had to read on Twitter that he was about to be sent down to the minor leagues before Reds management had the opportunity to sit him down and explain the situation to him.  These things understandably annoyed Bryan Price, who went on drop 77 f-bombs on reporters in just over five minutes.


There was a lot of reaction to this at the time, some praise and some criticism.  Frankly, I agree with him.  I'm all for the media keeping the fans informed, but not at the expense of giving the opposing team a strategic advantage.  Above all, after listening to this, I am able to take away three things that make me believe that he will be an excellent fit in Philadelphia:
  1. This guy is passionate about the game.
  2. He puts his team and his players first.
  3. He is real and he's going to speak his mind.
One last side note: about a month after the infamous rant Price had against the media, he managed to start an argument with the umpires and get ejected from the game when he turned in the lineup card.  Please allow me to repeat: he was ejected before the game even began, at a largely ceremonial moment in the game where all that typically happens is the managers of both teams walk to home plate, shake hands, hand their lineup cards to the umpire and walk back to the dugout.

I truly love that this dude is in Philadelphia!


Nov 1, 2019