Jan 31, 2024

A Fun Place To Kick The Bucket

Bucket Of Blood Street
Holbrook, Arizona
There can't be too many other roads less than a quarter of a mile long that have their own Wikipedia page.

Jan 30, 2024

We’re All In 7th Grade When It Comes To This...

Anyone But You
Columbia Pictures (2023)
This movie premiered before Christmas, but it didn't make it to my local theater until a couple of weeks ago.  Romantic comedies are kind of hit and miss with me.  I find that a lot of them are filled with tedious sarcasm, lame cookie-cutter jokes, and references to pop culture and current events which gives the entertainment value of the film the same shelf life as a gallon of milk.  I'm very happy to say that this is one of the exceptions to the rule.  It tells a heartfelt story without making you want to puke, and it has a lot of genuinely funny lines and scenes.  The title is a little weird because it makes it seem like the stars are happy to settle for anyone except each other and that's not at all the case for either character, but that's a minor complaint, if it's a complaint at all.  It's a fun flick... I recommend it.

Jan 29, 2024

Nine Innings Of Pinball

Baseball Champ
Chicago Coin Machine Co. (1973)
I'm in the process of converting my baseball into a combination arcade and vintage video game room.  My favorite arcade when I was growing up was Aladdin's Castle, so a lot of the decorations and tchotchkes around the room are from there.  One of the things I found was a black and white 8x10 of a newspaper photo that was taken by Fred Victorin for the St. Petersburg Times.

The game in the photograph is an electromechanical pinball machine from 1973 called Baseball Champ, which has been customized with an Aladdin's Castle sign in the outfield.  There are two dates on the back of the picture: one stamped July 12, 1973 which I'm guessing is the date that the photo was taken.  The other one is an August 19, 1977 stamp on a newspaper clipping of the caption that was used for the photo.  Unfortunately, whatever paper it was published in is not archived by newspapers.com because I couldn't find it.

Jan 28, 2024

A New Beginning Of WWE

Royal Rumble
World Wrestling Entertainment (2024)
I've been a fan of professional wrestling since before I started kindergarten.  Since that time, I've dipped in and out of keeping up with WWF/E wrestling, but even during the times that I'm not following the product, I still try to attend the live events that come to my part of the country, and there's two shows that I make it a point to watch on television: Wrestlemania, and my favorite annual wrestling show, the Royal Rumble.  This year was the 37th annual Royal Rumble event, and it's a bit surreal with the news that broke earlier this week regarding Vince McMahon being forced to resign from the company.  I don't want to get into all of that here, but I will say that I don't doubt a word that Janel Grant had to say and as for Vince... don't let the door of Titan Tower smack your ass on the way out.  I think the company is in a strong position since the sale to TKO and the dismissal of McMahon, Laurinaitis, and Dunn, and it might be time to dip in again.

I've watched every Royal Rumble and this year's was one of the best ever, if not the very best.  There were only four matches on the card, and that's exactly how it should be for an event like this.  Both the women's and men's Rumble matches were incredible and both matches had incredibly talented and deserving winners.  I'm not generally a big fan of Fatal Four Way matches, but the one last night for the Universal Title was as good as any that I've ever seen, and the US Title match was well done and had a very cool, old school finish.  I had a lot of fun watching this show, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it develops at Wrestlemania 40.

Jan 27, 2024

Happy Birthday Joe Bob

Happy 71st birthday to the dude who is responsible for introducing me to more movies than I can count while teaching me more about them and making me laugh my ass off... the one and only Mr. Joe Bob Briggs.

Jan 26, 2024

I'm Shipping Up To Boston To Find My Yodels Cake

Boston Creme Yodels
Drake's (2024)
The yellow box caught my eye from a distance and I thought at first that these were going to be banana flavored.  I wasn't too disappointed because I've always enjoyed Boston Creme donuts, so I brought a box home.

After trying them, I think I would have preferred it if these were banana cream flavored instead.  It's not that the Boston Creme Yodels are bad.  They're made with golden cake instead of chocolate cake and I suppose the filling is supposed to taste like Boston Creme, but I didn't think that they tasted much different from regular Yodels.  If you blindfolded someone who is familiar with the snack cake and asked them to try it, I doubt that they'd guess that it was supposed to be a different flavor.

Jan 25, 2024

Wiener Music

Music To Eat Oscar Mayer Wieners By
Oscar Mayer (1971)
In the early 1970's, Oscar Mayer released a vinyl record with six variations of their "I Wish I Were An Oscar Mayer Wiener" advertising jingle.  The songs are titled Motown, Bossa Nova, Country & Western, Dixie, Tijuana, and Vienna Symphony.

The record has been digitized and uploaded to the Internet Archive for your listening pleasure.

Jan 24, 2024

Game Tips And A Mondo Poster

Nintendo Power
Issue 4 - January/February 1989
This issue of Nintendo Power featuring Zelda II: The Adventures Of Link on the cover was mailed out to subscribers 35 years ago this month.  I must have read this thing a hundred times when I was a kid.  You can read it too at RetroMags.com.

Jan 23, 2024

Rhys Lightning Strikes Milwaukee

Rhys Hoskins
Philadelphia Phillies (2017 - 2023)
Congratulations to first baseman Rhys Hoskins on signing a two year, $34 million dollar deal with the Milwaukee Brewers.  We're going to miss you, and that bat spike is going to live in Philadelphia forever  [source: Jeff Passan].

Jan 22, 2024

Bunch Of Savages In This Town...

View Askew (1994)
Kevin Smith's movies have made me laugh my ass off for the past three decades, and it all started with Clerks.  Thirty years ago today, it was screened for a paying audience for the first time at the Holiday Village Cinema during the Sundance Film Festival.

photo source: Kevin Smith / Instagram

Jan 21, 2024

Discount Christmas Ice Cream

Christmas Tree Cakes Ice Cream
Hudsonville Ice Cream (2023)
This flavor was in the freezers of my local Wal-Mart for the past three months, but the price they were charging wasn't something that I was willing to pay.  I must not have been alone, because they still have about 200 cartons of it in their freezer today, and it's available now at the clearance price of 50 cents a pint.

It's pretty tasty ice cream that's loaded with sprinkles and frosting.  I hope that they bring it back for the 2024 holiday season and that they choose to sell it for a reasonable price.  If not, I'll be glad to pay half a buck for it again next January.

Jan 20, 2024

Happy Bajaversary

Mountain Dew Baja Blast
PepsiCo (2024)
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the former Taco Bell exclusive Mountain Dew flavor, Baja Blast, they're making the tasty beverage available in grocery store as a permanent flavor.  You can get it in Original or Zero Sugar, which tastes pretty much exactly the same as the full sugar version to me.

Jan 19, 2024

Winter In Wildwood

Earlier this week, Wildwood Video Archive shared drone video footage of Morey's Pier and the Wildwood boardwalk covered in snow.

Jan 18, 2024

The World Is Closing In

Bleecker Street (2024)
Movie trailers, overall, are usually pretty terrible.  Often times, they're cut in a way that completely misrepresents the tone of the movie.  They're also frequently guilty of spoiling major plot points which ruins the experience that the film is trying to create.  It's kind of hard to get too invested in a character when you saw them get stabbed to death in the preview three weeks before the movie even premiered, ya know?  Sometimes, they are so overplayed that they give me a negative opinion of the movie before it even comes out.  That's where I'm at with Argylle right now.  It looked mildly interesting the first time that I saw the trailer, but they've played it so often that when I see it now, it makes me think that it's going to be a generic cookie-cutter action comedy with its humor lifted from a corny 90's sitcom.

It's rare that a trailer inspires me to want to see the film, and I find that I can still appreciate it after I've seen the movie, but this one does the job.

This is how a trailer should be done, and I have just as high of praise for I.S.S.  The plot device is a pretty gutsy move in 2024, and while the story follows the American crew more closely, it's presented in as neutral of a manner as possible.  There's no commentary on which country are the "good guys" and which are the "bad guys" back on Earth, or even among the crew on the International Space Station.  The point is that there's war and chaos going on all around, and both sides have people who are noble and people who aren't.  More importantly than that, this is a suspense flick that's done the right way.  It sets up the characters and their relationships well before putting them at conflict against each other in a confined environment.  It's a great flick that is definitely worth seeing on the big screen.

Jan 17, 2024

Records Tower

Record Street Brewing Company
East 4th Street - Reno, NV
This mural is called Top 20.  It stands 22 feet tall by 8 feet wide and was painted three years ago on the side of the Record Street Brewing Company building by artist Erik Burke.  I love the fact that the spines on the album covers look worn.  At a glance, it looks so real that you almost believe that you could slide one of the records out of a giant shelf.  [source: Art Merit]

Jan 16, 2024

We Were Cool On Craze

Points On The Curve
Wang Chung (1984)
The second studio album released by the band, and the first under the name Wang Chung, was released 40 years ago today.  The album includes Dance Hall Days, which hit #16 on the Billboard Hot 100.  I won't pretend that I understand all of the lyrics, but it's a pleasant song that has found its way to just about every new wave playlist that I've ever put together.
Take your baby by the hand
And make her do a high handstand
And take your baby by the heel
And do the next thing that you feel

We were so in phase
In our dance hall days
We were cool on craze
When I, you and everyone we knew
Could believe, do and share in what was true
I said, dance hall days love

Take your baby by the hair
And pull her close and there, there, there
And take your baby by the ears
And play upon her darkest fears

We were so in phase
In our dance hall days
We were cool on craze
When I, you and everyone we knew
Could believe, do and share in what was true
I said, dance hall days, love
Dance hall days

Take your baby by the wrist
And in her mouth an amethyst
And in her eyes two sapphires blue
And you need her and she needs you

We were so in phase
In our dance hall days
We were cool on craze
When I, you and everyone we knew
Could believe, do and share in what was true
I said, dance hall days, love
Dance hall days

Jan 15, 2024

The Queenslayer Protects The Hive

The Beekeeper
Miramax (2024)
The critics don't seem to be in love with this movie, but they can all go pound sand.  Any movie where Jason Statham kicks the crap out of a bunch of people who deserve it is going to be a good time, and The Beekeeper is no exception.  If you enjoy the John Wick movies, you're going to enjoy this.

Jan 14, 2024

Shoveling Snow For Buffalo

The Buffalo Bills posted a request for help from their fans and other folks who live in the area.

It seems like the team is catching hell from the general public for making this offer.  I'm not a big football guy and I'm certainly not a Buffalo Bills fan so there's no motivation for me to defend them, but I don't see a problem with this at all.  First of all, $20 an hour plus dinner is not terrible by any means, but more importantly, I'd imagine that it'd be a hell of a lot of fun.  Granted, shoveling snow is work, but it's an opportunity to get together with a bunch of other fans of your team and become a small part of the team's run in the playoffs.  If I lived closer to Citizens Bank Park and the Phillies made a similar job offer to help prepare the ballpark for the post-season, the only thing that would stop me from signing up is if I wasn't able-bodied to do the work.

Jan 13, 2024

You Have Chosen... Wisely

Interesting advice.  Follow it at your own risk.

Jan 12, 2024

Back To Booty's Place

Eggplant Rollatini
Booty's Place - Hazleton, PA
This restaurant is under new ownership since the last time we visited, but the food is still delicious.  I had the Eggplant Rollatini, which is stuffed eggplant with ricotta cheese topped with homemade sauce and mozzarella cheese, served with a side of pasta.

There aren't nearly as many Italian restaurants in the area as there were when I was growing up, but I'm glad that this place is still around.

Jan 11, 2024

Sink Or Swim

Night Swim
Universal Pictures (2024)
This movie reminded me of the kinds of horror movies that I'd watch on USA Up All Night when I was a teenager.  Wyatt Russell plays the role of a husband, a father, and a ballplayer whose career was cut short due to some sort of seizure disorder.  They really went out of their way to make this character look like Bryce Harper, which was kind of amusing.  He and his family move into a house with a haunted swimming pool that is giving him back his health and his strength, but it wants to take the life of his wife, his son, or his daughter as payment.  It wasn't terrible, but I wouldn't really recommend it too strongly either.

Jan 10, 2024

The Colorful Zebra Is Going Extinct

Fruit Stripe Gum
1969 - 2024
It's the end of an era in the gum aisle, as the Ferrara Candy Company has announced that they are discontinuing Fruit Stripe gum.

I remember this gum from my childhood, but I'm pretty sure it was called Yipe Stripe Fruit Stripe Gum back then.  It's not something I ever got for myself, but my grandmother usually included a pack in my Easter basket or in my Christmas stocking when I was a kid.  It had a strong and delicious fruit punch flavor that was unlike any other candy or gum that I've ever had.  Unfortunately, that flavor usually lasted about 10 seconds before it was gone completely.

It's probably been at least twenty years since I've had a stick of this gum, if not longer, but I would have picked up a pack if I knew it was going to be my last chance to try it.  There's probably still some floating around on store shelves, but ordering it online is out of the question.  The current asking price on eBay for one pack is about $80.

Jan 9, 2024

You've Got To Roll With The Punches To Get To What's Real

Van Halen (1984)
One of the greatest rock albums of the 80's is turning forty years old today.  Van Halen's 1984 was released on January 9th, 1984 and went on to sell over ten million copies and produced for hit singles: I'll Wait, Hot For Teacher, Panama, and one of my favorite songs of all time, Jump.

I didn't have the album until I was a teenager, but I had a 45 single of Jump in my box of records since before I started kindergarten and I can't begin to count how many times I played that thing throughout my childhood.  No other song captures the 80's for me as much as this does.

Van Halen (1984)
I get up, and nothing gets me down
You got it tough, I've seen the toughest around
And I know, baby, just how you feel
You got to roll with the punches to get to what's real

Oh, can't you see me standing here
I got my back against the record machine
I ain't the worst that you've seen
Oh, can't you see what I mean

Ah, might as well jump
Might as well jump
Go ahead and jump
Go ahead and jump

Hello... Hey, you... Who said that
Baby, how you been
You say you don't know
You won't know until you begin

So can't you see me standing here
I've got my back against the record machine
I ain't the worst that you've seen
Oh, can't you see what I mean

Ah, might as well jump
Go ahead and jump
Might as well jump
Go ahead and jump

Jan 8, 2024

Time For Go To Eat

Tor Johnson's Liver & Onions
Cris Shapan - Deluxe Fuxley Corporate Archives
If this place existed, it probably would have been my grandfather's favorite restaurant.

Jan 7, 2024

What Brings You To This Nape Of The Woods

Cindy Morgan
1954 - 2023
It was announced over the weekend that Cindy Morgan passed away late last year of natural causes.  The actress had many television and film roles throughout her career, but she is best known for her roles in two iconic movies from the 80's: Lora / Yori in the Disney sci-fi flick Tron, and Lacey Underall in my favorite comedy film of all time, Caddyshack.  She was 69 years old.

Jan 6, 2024

Time To Shovel

We had our first significant snowfall of the season this weekend.

Jan 5, 2024

The Swiss King

Shroom N' Swiss Melt
Burger King (2024)
I'm still not a fan of the toasted bread gimmick, but this is a tasty burger.  In between the thing that should be a hamburger bun are two Whopper Jr. patties topped with Swiss cheese, jalapeƱos, mushroom, and Royal sauce.

Jan 4, 2024

No Bones About It

Jingle Bones
Bones Coffee Company (2023)
We just finished off the last of the Bones Coffee that we ordered during their Black Friday special deal in 2023.

We ordered several flavors in addition to Jingle Bones, including Santa Jack and Nutcracker's Revenge, and my feelings on all of them are pretty much the same, which is to say that it tasted good, but it's nowhere near good enough to justify the price tag.

At the time that I'm writing this, Bones Coffee Company is charging $17.99 for a 12 ounce bag plus shipping (unless you order $75 or more).  This is almost twice as expensive as larger bag of Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks coffee that I found on Wal-Mart.com, and in my opinion, both Dunkin and Starbucks makes a better tasting product.  If I'm being totally honest, the Wal-Mart Great Value brand may not have cool packages or as many flavor options, but what they do have tasted every bit as good to me as what I've tried from Bones Coffee.

Bones Coffee might be worth trying if you can get one of their special holiday deals that bring the cost down to something closer to reasonable, but at regular price, this is an easy brand to cross off of the grocery list.

Jan 2, 2024

Pie For Breakfast

Key Lime Pie Crunch
Malt O Meal (2023)
I bought this a few months ago and finally got around to opening it and trying it for the first time.  I'm not sure if it was a limited edition product or if its still available in stores today.

Key Lime Pie Crunch is basically Golden Grahams cereal mixed with lime flavored green cereal pieces and white meringue flavored marshmallows.  It's a very tasty combination!

Jan 1, 2024

Flashpants and Ice Cream

Howard Johnson's
Broadway & 49th St - New York, NY  (January 1984)
This photo was taken 40 years ago this month by John Abbott... a time when you could stop for ice cream and take in a screening of the adult film parody Flashpants just a few feet away. [source: RetroNYC]