Well, another year has come and gone ... it really flew by, didn't it? It seems like the older we get, the faster time seems to go, doesn't it? I remember being 5, and thinking at Christmas that summertime would never get here ... now, it seems like I roll over and go to sleep on Christmas, and the next thing I know, I'm turning up the air-conditioning ... weird.
Anyway, I usually do some predictions ... I went back to my 2009 predictions, and I'm surprised by a couple of them. Specifically, I predicted that something was going to happen to Michael Jackson - here's what I said: 9. Something extraordinary is going to happen to Michael Jackson ... I'm not sure if it's going to be a good thing, a bad thing, or both. I predict he'll either make a comeback (fueled by the MTV music awards ... much like they successfully did with Brittney), or he won't make it to 2010 (I'm not even sure if he's human anymore, to tell you the truth).
I really am amazing, aren't I? I also predicted the Michael Vick would be on an NFL team ... unfortunately, that turned out to be my Ealges ... sigh. Well, let's see if I can't put together some predictions for 2010:
1. Tiger Woods will embrace the "Playboy" lifestyle, will grow out a Goatee, and will sport a tattoo on his neck that says "Playa."
2. A famous musician will die abruptly ... I'm guessing this musician will be a pop star ... maybe along the lines of Brittany Spears (safe bet), or John Maier (a more aggressive choice).
3. An NBA scandal that involves David Stern will surface, jeopardizing the league.
4. Tom Cruise will be involved in some scandal that will once-and-for-all ruin his career.
5. We will continue to see slow but positive recovery with the economy ... jobs will increase across the world ... it's gotta happen, right?
I talked about the California Raisins last week, and it brought up another 1980's marketing campaign from that era ... and surprise, surprise ... it was by a beer company ... and even more surprising, it was by Budweiser. The one-time American brewery kicked off an era of "animal-marketing" with Spuds McKenzie, a pit-bull wearing Bud Light sweatshirts and sunglasses promoting Bud Light.
It seemed like no matter where Spuds would waddle, there was a party to be had. Spuds was the man ... er, dog about town. Whether it was pool parties, club parties, or sports games at bars, Spuds was there with a throng of party-goers. No, Spuds never talked, and was never really seen with a beer in his paw, but that didn't stop him from partying like a rock star!
Here's the thing, I was well-below the legal drinking age, but man did I want to hang with Spuds, wear Bud Light shirts, and drink beer. In fact, I think I did have a Spuds McKenzie Bud Light t-shirt back then. I'm not sure what this said about me or society back then ...
Many of you probably know that I'm a fan of Sesame Street ... well, at least B.E. Sesame Street (before Elmo). You know, the Sesame Street in which Big Bird had a huge Mastodon friend that none of the adults could see, the one where Cookie Monster was so out of control, he would eat tables ... yeah, that's my kind of Sesame Street! I remember crying when Mr. Hooper died.
Speaking of death on Sesame Street - another adult character from the show has passed. , who played Olivia on the show (as well as Olivia on 227)died last week. Alaina Reed-Amini.
Olivia was Gordon's sister, and although she wasn't as prominent on the show as Gordon, Bob, Luis, and the others. But, she added spunk to the show. And even though she ended up leaving the show when she got a part on 227, she was still "Sesame Street for Life."
I hope everyone had a great Christmas (holiday). I had a lot of fun hanging with family and friends, and of course opening presents. Some of my favorite presents included a netbook, a cool fishing game for the Wii, tickets to a Stones tribute band show, and the Freaks and Geeks DVD set.
Of course the most "interesting" present I received was a gag gift from my brother and his wife ... the Bob Dylan Christmas CD. Yes, you heard me right, Bob Dylan released a cd of classic Christmas songs this past fall ... and sadly, it's as awful as the idea sounds. Dylan never had a great voice, but it fit in well with the music he wrote. With each passing year, his voice has gotten progressively worse.
Folks, his voice has hit rock-bottom with this album. I'm confused with this - Dylan has been see-sawing for years between Christianity and Judaism... I actually think his back to being Jewish, which makes this project head-scratching. What prompted hims to do this?Did he lose a bet with his son Jacob? I'm sure he's set financially, right?
As bad as this album is, there is one song that isn't half-bad, and could live on with each successive Christmas season - "Must be Santa." Maybe I gravitate to this diddy because it's a song that was a staple of my grade-school chorus. Maybe because it's goofy and light-hearted ... and actually fun. Maybe it's because the background vocalists seem more prominent than Bob Dylan in this. Whatever the reason, if you need a new Christmas album, the Bob Dylan album is not the one for you ... but you can download "Must Be Santa."
Thankfully, there have been a lot of other news stories recently that took precidence over the one featuring a member of my favorite band, the Rolling Stones. Yep, the junior of the band, 62-year-old Ron Wood got himself in trouble a few weeks ago when he got into some sort of domestic dispute with his 21-year-old model/girlfriend (ah, the life of a rock-star). You can read more about it here. There are rumors flying around that the Stones may end up kicking Woody out of the band prior to a new album and rumored tour in 2010. I'm not sure how true these rumors are, but it's fun to speculate (at least I think it's fun) on who the replacement might be.
So, below is a list of some potential replacements:
* Mick Taylor - He replaced Brian Jones as guitarist of the Stones (and was subsequently replaced by Woods). Many claim this was the best era of the band - Taylor, at that point, was considered as good of a blues guitarist as Eric Clapton. He left the band when they refused to give him writing credits on some of the songs. Stones fans desperately want hm back.
* Jack White - The man is arguably the highest rising star in rock music today ... he has played on stage with the Stones a couple of times already ... and get this, he's been hanging out and writing songs with Keith Richards! Rumor has it, he's going to produce the new Stones album ... would he consider touring with the band for a year and a half?
* Joe Perry - Heck, Aerosmith is just imploded recently, and Joe Perry basically imitates Keef anyway ... could the two play together?
* Jimmy Page - The man tried out for the Stones after Brian Jones was fired by the band. Would he put his ego aside now and join the band?
* George Thorogood - Lonesome George is friends with Mick and Keith, and actually learned all the Stones songs during the 1981 tour in case Ronnie Wood died - he was in-line to be the next guitarist of the boys.
* Pete Townsend - The man is close friends with Mick, and has written quite a few songs in recent years with Mick. Would the stage be big enough for Pete, Keith, and Mick?
3.On a report that shows that Clark County has nearly twice as many cows as it does people. "I'd like to see the A-'cow'-nting that was done of this ... I have a feeling it's just a bunch of 'bull.'" http://www.wxow.com/Global/story.asp?S=11700452
As some of you know, I really am a child/adolescent of the 80's. 80's music has always resonated with me - whether it was the "poppy" stuff like Madonna or Cyndi Lauper, the alternative stuff like Erasure, The Cure, or New Order, the more "punky" stuff like Madness or the Clash, or the straight up rock stuff (too many artists to mention).
A few nights ago at a local bar, my friend Mark began playing a bunch of 80's music. One song really stuck out for me - it was a band that had made its bones in the 70's doing a lot of disco. They were able to slip in another hit in the early to mid 1980's. The group (in my best Casey Casem voice) ... K.C. and the Sunshine Band. The song (continuing with the Casem voice) ... Give it Up.
As is expected, there still is a heavy disco undertone to this. But, there are some 80's synth-sounds added to this. The song itself is is pretty redundant, but in a good way.
I remember hearing this on 98-WCAU Hot Hits, and trying to record it on my old Hitachi radio/tape player. I had no knowledge of K.C.'s previous songs, I just knew that I loved this one. It didn't take me long to learn the song by heart. But sadly for K.C., this was his bands last real hit.
Here's a "live" performance.
This one really gets on my nerves, so obviously, it's a whopping "Nope" for me. Pronouncing the word "Jaguar" seems to be difficult for many Americans ... especially national sportscasters. So, this is how one is supposed to say it - jag-wahr. In fact, you can go here to hear an audio clip of how to say it.
You know what, I'm even fine with the more "regal" or British way of saying jaguar - jag-yoo-er.
But the way that I hear FAR too many people say it is - jag-wire. Ooooh, this grates on my nerves. It's like somebody is scratching a chalk-board. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it! And yet, nobody seems to care. Am I making too big of a deal about this?
Arby's has put together a value menu special in recent months. It's called the "$5.01 menu." I'm not really entirely sure why they decided to add the penny to this - I think the marketing campaign mentions something about "worth every penny." Anyway, I'm not crazy about the campaign, but the menu really is fantastic ... well, at least the two menu items I've tried in the past 3 weeks or so.
The menu items include curly fries (ALWAYS a plus) and a drink. The choices are as follows:
* French Dip and Swiss - This really is a fantastic sandwich. The roast beef rests on a baguette that has a solid crust but is flaky on the inside. It is accompanied by some "au jus." The baguette is all too willing to soak up this juice, and it works beautifully. Don't forget to add some Horsey Sauce!
* The Roast Beef Patty Melt - The sandwich has some sort of cheesy topping. This time, the roast beef is snuggled between two pieces of sourdough bread. The sandwich really works well. I highly recommend it.
* The Roast Beef Gyro - I haven't tried this one yet, but I'm sure I will in due time. It looks like a traditional Arby's Giant Roast beef ... well, at least the toppings of tomatoes and lettuce do. And, of course, the actual sandwich is replaced with a gyro.
* If these above items are too "outside the box" for you, you can fall back on the traditional Arby's Roast Beef sandwich. I've spoken about this before.
* And, finally, a Roast Chicken sandwich is offered. Again, I haven't tried this one, but it looks as if the chicken is not a filet, but more like lunchmeat. The toppings are similar to the gyro, but sourdough bread is used. Not sure if I'm going to get to this one ... I guess we'll see.
We're experiencing our first big snowstorm of the season, which always brings back a ton of childhood memories for me. I figured I'd share a couple with you (lucky you!):
* I so remember the anticipation of a coming snow-storm, and the desperate begging to Mother Nature to blanket us in a winter-wonderland so that school would be canceled. I remember listening intently to KYW-1060 for our school number to be read from the school-closing list. When the number "4-5-0" came across, the jubilation I felt was immeasurable. And, it's not like I went back to bed. Nope, I would immediately put on my winter gear, and head outside with friends to go sledding, play snow hockey, have snow-ball fights, and build snow forts. We'd take a brief break for lunch, and then journey outside into the the heavenly snow to continue our winter frolicking. Man, I miss it!
* I always love looking outside at the fresh snow on the lawn, on the street, and in the tree. It always feels like a winter post-card. Sadly, the scene doesn't stay that way for long, and my back doesn't seem to enjoy the snow nearly as much as the rest of me does (as evidenced by the pain it registers during and after snow shoveling).
* We are fortunate to live near a bar, so it's always fun to trek to a local watering hole during a blizzard, and enjoy the company of others with cabin fever.
* Sledding has always been a big part of a snow storm. We were lucky enough to have a couple of streets in front of our house that were very hilly. We also had a great hilly park near us with a nice-sized hill called "Monument Hill." (It is named this because T=there is a monument dedicated to soldiers who sacrificed their lives for freedom during World War 1.) This was a gathering place of many of my grade-school friends - we'd have sledding races and snowball fights. These were probably some of the greatest moments of my childhood.
* Lets not forget hot chocolate! The stuff never tasted better after coming in from a long day in the snow. Our bodies were shivering and frozen from the inside out, but hot chocolate had an amazing way of reversing this!
Anybody remember the California Raisins? This was a huge ad campaign featuring "clay-mated" raisins that would strut around and sing like some sort of 1960's R&B group. It all started innocently enough as a few commercials, but for some reason, people became fascinated by these four shriveled-up super-stars (and now, I'm not talking about the Stones!).
From the commercials came a couple of albums, and even a cartoon. They went so far as to include a Michael Jackson California Raisin in a commercial ... I kid you not! They even did a Christmas special ... but I have no memory of what it was all about.
Heck, I remember sporting a California Raisins t-shirt at one time ... not sure if this was cool or not.
I remember it like it was yesterday ... I was probably around 12 or 12 years old. I got it into my head that my mom needed to expand her cooking skills a bit. Ya see, my mom is German, and most of the food she cooks is old-school German. Whether it's Gulash, Ruladen, or schnitzel, my mom can cook it. When it comes to other non-German foods, it's hit or miss. Spaghetti ... not so good. Steak or burgers? Cooked 'til they're gray. Nope, not her specialty.
So, I thought it would be a fantastic idea to buy dear old mom a Wok for Christmas. It never crossed my mind that my mother probably would have no interest in cooking Chinese food for the fam. Heck, I'd never even really had Chinese food by that point in my life, but that still didn't prevent me from purchasing a smallish wok at a store in the local mall.
I was so excited by this purchase ... I assumed immediately that this would probably be the greatest gift Inga (my mother) would ever receive in her life (again, I'm not sure how/why I came to this conclusion).
So, Christmas approached, and I eagerly handed mom the gift-wrapped wok. When she opened it, she didn't jump up and down excitedly like I anticipated. No, quite the opposite. She looked a little confused and maybe disappointed. I figured it would take a while for the excitement to set in, so I immediately turned my attention to the unopened presents for me.
At some point in the day/night, my mom took me aside and questioned why I would ever even consider buying her a wok. I asserted that mom could use this wok to create new spectacular dinners for the family. My mom immediately responded that I should never think of buying anything like this for her again. I guess I was a little disappointed, as instead of hitting the ball out of the park, I struck out on the gift.
The story does have a happy ending ... sort of. When it was time for me to go to college, I was able to bring along an unopened wok ... sigh.
Rick Springield ... power pop rocker? Soap opera heart-throb? Both?!?!?!? He sure was. When the mid 80's came around, there was nobody more on fire than Rick. I was still pretty much immersed in polka and Sesame Street music, but I distinctly remember my cousin Trish head over heels for this guy. She had bought the album "Working Class Dog" - I remember the album well - a dog with a tie.
He was a "doctor," on General Hospital, which brings up a great Bob Hope line from the movie Spies Like Us (ironically, a classic 1980's movie), in which he was introduced to Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroid when they were dressed as doctors, and his line was, "I'm glad I'm not sick!"
I probably shouldn't admit this, but I do own Rick Springfield's greatest hits cd ... and no, it's not an EP. It's actually pretty good, and brings back memories of Solid Gold, American Bandstand, and other 1980's memories.
Back in the day, my dad often took me to this fast food restaurant by the name of "Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips." This particular establishment was located not far from our house. Really, the only thing I remember about this place was the green roof, and that the only thing I really liked on the menu was the french fries. My dad LOVED the fish and chips ... I guess it somehow made him feel European all over again ... even though he's German, and this is decidedly more British/Irish.
I know by the time I was 8, the restaurant was long gone, and truthfully, I haven't seen one in this area since. I'm wondering if I'd look a little more kindly on the fare at this restaurant with my .... errr ... ummmm .... advanced pallet?
Has anybody else had the experience of eating at this "establishment?" Is it still even around?
Kids wearing their pants below their hips ... this really bothers me. Maybe it's a sign of my old age. I mean, after all, when I was growing up, I wore acid-washed jeans, and sported a mullet - this was what was cool back in the day. I wonder if I would've fallen into the pants below the hips "fad" if I was growing up today. What do you guys think about it?
Since we are in the heart of the Christmas (holiday) season, I wanted to share my 5 favorite Christmas songs in no particular order:
5. Do They Know It's Christmas by Band Aid - Just a beautiful song by a group of talented artists that included members from U2, Wham, Sting, Duran Duran, and so on - really, the main artists of the time for the most part. Makes you think about the less fortunate at a time when you SHOULD be thinking about them.
4. Father Christmas by The Kinks - A great punk-sounding Christmas song - it starts off as very light-hearted and funny, but towards the later parts of the song, the message of once again remembering "The Kids who got nothing, while your drinking down your wine" appears. It's fun, certainly has a sing-a-long quality, and thought-provoking.
3. Happy Christmas (War is Over) by John Lennon - Man, I guess I'm a sucker for songs with meaning. It is a protest song about Vietnam, or at least that's what it originally was. It has now become a Christmas staple ... and even if you can hear Yoko's voice, it doesn't ruin the song.
2. Little Drummer Boy by David Bowie and Bing Crosby - The young meeting with the old ... the harmonies bring a tear to my eye.
1. Santa Claus is Coming to Town by Bruce Springsteen - I'm a fan of Bruce, and this song just REMINDS me of Christmas memories. It's jovial, and fun ... and live, which means it's not over-produced ... the part where Bruce starts laughing is my favorite for some reason.
There are others - I just wanted to point out 5 of my favorite.
It's time once again for Mama Kat's Weekly Homework Assignment! This week is a very special week ... a week of hope and/or prayer ... you'll get the idea from the prompt I chose: Anissa is putting up the fight of her life right now. She's fighting to respond. She's fighting to get better. She's fighting to swallow. She's fighting to go home. Her husband updates us frequently on a blog Anissa used when their daughter Peyton was fighting cancer. Write a poem about a fight you or someone you love has struggled to win.
We had just graduated 8th grade ... On to high school, we had it made! Then came the night of our graduation dance. Talk to a cute girl, this may be your final chance!
I looked for my good friend Brian ... Never realizing he was close to dying. He went to the hospital complaining of a stomach pain. We never thought it was serious, deep in our brain.
Liver cancer is what he had. It was an understatement to say that we were sad. Sick, mad, angry, and scared. These were just some of the feelings, because for him, I cared.
One transplant, two transplants, and then number three. Brian hung in there ... his goal was to be free. He eventually lost the fight for his life. He showed incredible bravery in his strife.
He was far too healthy, too good, to leave us so soon. I often times think about him when I stare at the moon (true, by the way). He taught us a lesson at a very young age. Don't take life for granted - the end you can never gauge.
My wife has become a HUGE ... I mean HA-UGE Lady Gaga fan. After seeing her ridiculous performance at the Grammy's, I immediately took a disliking to her. So, when my wife bought Gaga's new CD, it turned my stomach a little. However, after the eleventy-millionth time my wife played the new cd, I came to a conclusion ... no, Lady Gaga is not my cup-of-tea, but her music really isn't all that bad.
One song I particularly like is Poker Face - It has all the ingredients required for a song to get stuck in your head ... Catchy chorus? Check! Lyrics that are easy to repeat? Check! Toe-tapping beat? Check! Plus, the song is sort of about poker ... sort of! Really, it's using poker terms to "discuss" loves/sex. But, at the very least, it's not being as blatant as other songs out there.
Here's the thing about Gaga - she writes her own music. I can respect that. Also, she has a powerful female voice ... not a girly annoying voice like Brittany. No, I'd never see her in concert. I don't think I can see anyone in concert with the name "Gaga." But, she's not all that bad. Here's the video, in case you are interested.
All of this "publicity" around Tiger Woods has gotten ... well ... a little supersaturated, hasn't it? Tiger made a comment I found fascinating - claiming that everybody has a right to privacy ... which I guess is technically true. However, if you are the most famous/popular "athlete" on the planet, that privacy probably doesn't go much past the front door of your mansion.
Here's the thing. I think Tiger felt he was invincible ... that he could do whatever he wanted without consequences. This seems to happen to most pro athletes (at least the elite ones). Michael Jordan went through this. So did T.O., Kobe and Vick. These superstars have gotten so used to people looking the other way, and kissing their butts, that they buy into the "dream."
Tiger's image will most certainly take a hit in the short-run, but I'm guessing in a few years, most people will forget about it, much like the forgot about Kobe's hideous actions in Denver (seriously, look at all of the endorsements Kobe has again!).
Here's the dope or nope - A superstar (whether athlete or actor) gives up his/her right to total privacy. What are your thoughts?
Remember the battle between VHS and Beta that took place in the 1980's? It's not all that different than the HD-DVD vs. Blue Ray battle that took place recently. However, unlike the recent victory, Sony lost out big-time with the Beta. It's kind of interesting, I think - considering Beta's picture clarity was about 4 times better than VHS, and the Beta-Max tape was much more compact than the VHS tape.
However, Sony made a big mistake in it's approach. Sony ignored making it easy to service the Beta players ... one would have to ship the player to Japan to have it fixed ... certainly not convenient, and very pricey too. Not to mention, VCRs were a lot cheaper than Sony's Betamax system.
Funny that I don't remember anybody who owned a Betamax. My friend Davers's parents were the first people I knew to get a VCR. It was a top-loader, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. You could record shows and watch them whenever you wanted?!?!? Was this even legal?!?!? My parents got a VCR in the mid-80's, and I remember going to the supermarket on Thursday evenings to rent a movie ... then, eventually "graduating" to going to BlockBuster video ... this was like VHS heaven! But, I digress.
Seems to me that Sony learned its lesson the second go-around!
Here is a Betamax commerical ... notice the bartender ... it's Nathan Lane!
I had the pleasure of taking my wife to a Sonic Drive-In a few weeks ago ... it was her first experience at a Sonic, and folks, she was quite impressed. She took quite a few photos to "document" the experience, and joked that this was all in the name of research for my blog. Let's take a look at her work:
This is a picture of me, my brother and his wife eagerly awaiting our food at Sonic (no, we didn't stay in our cars - the weather was too good).
So many choices!!!!
My wife gave the cheesy tots a huge thumbs up! My wife is a sucker for cheese!
My burger was delicious, but as you can see, the roll was crumbly and fell apart too easily.
We loved the happy-hour drink specials at Sonic ... no, there isn't any alcohol, but they have fantastic fountain sodas!
All in all, we gave it a thumbs up, and wish Sonic would open a drive-in closer to our house!
It didn't take long for the Tiger Woods jokes to start flying around - my favorite one was this: "Tiger crashed into a fire-hydrant, flew through the windshield, hit a tree, and landed 3 inches from the cup."
4. On a woman accused of calling in a bomb threat to Miami International Airport with the alleged intention of delaying her boss' flight: "Either this boss is giving this secretary really good bonuses, or this secretary is dumber than a box of rocks." http://www.wsvn.com/news/articles/local/MI137485/
I normally don't read many books ... at least not books you'd be interested in. However, a friend and coworker of mine let me borrow a book a couple of months ago ... but, because I have a large "waiting list" of books next to my bed, I only recently started got around to reading it.
The book is called "Breaker Boys. The NFL's Greatest Team and the Stolen 1925 Championship," by Devid Fleming. Surprise, surprise! I'm reading a book about sports - who would've thunk it? Truth be told, I think many of you would really get a kick out of it.
The book is about a long forgotten NFL football team called the Pottsville Maroons - that's right, the same small Pennsylvania town known for Yuengling Lager also once sported an NFL football team ... and not just any NFL football team, but a team worthy of an NFL championship. In fact, the team technically won the NFL championship, but had to forfeit it, because it also played a college football team - not just any college football team, but the famed Notre Dame Fighting Irish (and actually won).
You see, back in the 1920's, college football teams were far superior to the rag-tag NFL football teams. The NFL was really just a renegade league that seemed to be held together on the edges by duct-tape. The book delves into the creation of this dominant team and the circumstances around it. The Maroons' victory over the Irish began to legitimize the NFL, but sadly also spelled the downfall of the Maroons as the NFL forced the Pottsville to forfeit their title (because of some sort of turf-war resulting from the game against the Irish).
If you ever get the hankering to read a good sports book, this might be the one - pretty easy read, and a fascinating story.
Black Friday - the midnight sales. The lines wrapped around stores like Best Buy, Target, and Walmart at 4:00 in the morning. People sleeping out for these "door-buster" sales in which the really, really good items are gone the second the store opens. The traffic, the nightmares in the parking lots. The disheveled look of the stores minutes after opening. The abandoned shopping carts littering almost ever aisle.
Is this really the start of the Christmas season? Shouldn't it be a little more peaceful or positive? I've tried going out on Black Friday a couple of times - and I refuse to do it anymore (well, at least the 5:00 AM thing). It is a real test to your patience ... a test I almost failed numerous times.
As my wife and I were driving home from outlet shopping in Rehoboth, Delaware, a song came on the radio that immediately whisked me back in time ... to a time when I was a middle-school student ... an awkward one at that ... at one of our middle-school dances in the gym of my school. The song - Careless Whisper by Wham (not that awful remake that's currently polluting our airwaves).
Sure, the song is certainly effeminate, and probably brings in to question the sexual orientation of any male who enjoys it, but I digress ... The memories from middle school dances are what I'm focusing on.
Man, the stress anytime a slow song was being played. "Who should I ask to dance?" "Do you think she'll say yes if I ask her?" "God, I hope THAT girl doesn't ask me to dance! It could ruin my street-cred." Some of these thoughts were going through my head as I sat at one of the cafeteria tables in the back corner of the gym, enjoying my orange drink and chocolate chip cookie, trying to think up new diarrhea jokes with my other dorky friends.
There were really only about 10 girls you wanted to slow dance with, and if you hesitated even for just a few seconds, they were taken. Folks, I'm telling you, it was a super-stressful time. Songs like Careless Whisper, One More Night, and the king of all slow songs - Stairway to Heaven. If you could score a slow dance during Stairway to Heaven with one of the hot girls, you were the talk of the Middle School. That song was like 8 or 9 minutes. When the song was over, you'd strut off the dance floor, into the cafeteria, and get yourself another well-earned cup of orange drink whilst high-fiving your friends.
Growing up, McDonalds definitely hit a chord with us kids. I mean, think about it - they created "McDonaldland," filled with characters we liked! Below is a list of all the ones I could think of:
Ronald McDonald - Obviously, the President of McDonaldland. He was like the Mick Jagger of McDonaldland - the lead singer, head honcho, numero uno. Sure, he was a clown, but he always seemed witty to the rest of the characters ... the others looked up to him like he was the Fonz ... just without a cool leather jacket.
Mayor McCheese - From what I remember, this guy was a bumbling idiot. Hard to believe he was able to become Mayor of McDonaldland ... unless he was in Ronald's pocket. Of course, we never really saw any candidates running against him for Mayor.
Big Mac - He looked very similar to Mayor McCheese, and often chased after the Hamburgler (more on him in a second). Perhaps this was a prelude to the previous Mayor in Philadelphia - Mayor John Street, whose brother Milton was a bumbling knucklehead who somehow was able to secure an important job at the Philadelphia International Airport (probably why said airport is awful).
The Hamburgler - Yes folks, even McDonaldland has criminals. The Hamburgler always tried to steal burgers from unsuspecting people, but much like the Trix rabbit, was always caught in the end. The Wet Bandits thought this guy was a bad criminal.
Captain Crook was another criminal, and looked quite a bit like Captain Hook. However, he was focused on the Filet O' Fish sandwich ... which makes no sense to me, because I can't think of any kid who'd choose a Filet O' Fish over a hamburger from McDonalds.
The Fry Guys - These annoying little sh*ts whould go around and steal everybody's french fries. They were blue, red, and yellow (I think), and they were short. They would just run around and gobble up fries (coincidentally, their original names were the Goblins). Man, McDonaldland was full of criminals, come to think about it!
Birdie the Early Bird - This bird with a pink jump suit, flight cap and scarf generally promoted McDonalds breakfasts. This is probably also the reason she didn't fly.
Grimace - Grimace is a fat purple monster who is probably about as bumbling as Mayor McCheese. Not really sure what his profession is, but he always seemed to have enough money to purchase a milk shake and yuk it up with Ronald.
The 1980's brought us one of the greatest sit-coms in the history of television. A sitcom that, strangely enough, took place in a bar ... where everybody knew your name? That's right, I'm talking about Cheers!
It is a goal of most people (well, if it isn't, it should be!) to be a recognized name/face in a neighborhood bar, much like the lovable (yet unemployed) Norm. To reach those social heights truly is remarkable (and possibly expensive).
The show itself had a bumpy start, almost being canceled after the first season. NBC did the impossible, and decided to stick with the show, and it gradually gained momentum. The show consisted of a core group of characters, even though throughout its existence, the show did lose some key "players." Surprisingly, the show was able to replace them, for instance, replacing Coach with Woody, or Diane with Rebecca, and still be able to be funny and witty.
A show that mostly took place in a bar - a novel concept indeed!
Since it's Thanksgiving, I figured I'd choose the only "real" Thanksgiving song out there - Adam Sandler's "The Thanksgiving Song." No, it's not really an artistic masterpiece, and no, the lyrics aren't inspiring ... but, they are kind of funny. Plus, it actually allows us to sometimes remember that Thanksgiving does fall in between Halloween and Christmas. It was played on the radio a lot in the late 1990's and early 2000's, but truthfully, I haven't heard it much in recent years.
Sandler strummed this diddy live in front of an audience for his comedy show, and luckily enough, it was taped. It gained momentum, and the rest is history. Probably, my favorite line in the whole thing is "Gobble Gobble Gee and Gobble Gobble Giggle ... I was turkey only cost a Nickel." Genius? Of course not ... but, I'm a guy who laughs uncontrollably at fart jokes ... so there.
It's time once again for http://www.mamakatslosinit.com/! Since it's Thanksgiving week, I figured I'd write a poem about what I'm thankful for ... BUT, I decided I'd do a Haiku (because I'm cool like that):
I love Thanksgiving Turkey, family and friends. A day off of work!
Unofficial start To the Christmas holiday. Countdown to St. Nick!
Unbuckle the belt. I ate too much once again. No room for my beer!
Dinner is over. We go to the movies next. Which one will we see?
We take a moment. We remember our loved ones. No longer with us.
I have to thank my coworker "Fozzie" for this one - a tremendous effort!
What do you guys and gals think about a person paying with a check in the express checkout line in the supermarket? Doesn't this defeat the purpose of "express?" And, really, I guess I could've expanded this to writing a check anywhere but at home? With the invention of check cards, what's the point? But, I digress.
You can probably guess where I sit on this, as I normally get very upset when someone goes through a 12-item-or-less express check-out with 13 items ... follow the rules, dammit!
Since I did the $1 burger review the other day, I figured it convenient to do the $1 chicken sandwich review. I'll add a couple of more fast food joints, since they serve them too.
KFC has the Snacker - really just a fried chicken finger put between two buns. It's simplistic, but at a dollar, not too bad (especially if you like their chicken fingers). The roll has sesame seeds, which for some reason, is a bonus. Sadly, their fries suck.
Sonic has a $1 chicken sandwich as well - they actually put two small chicken fingers in between the bun, but the bun seems to fall apart too easily. Still, sometimes quantity over quality has its advantages. Plus, their fries are pretty darn good (and you can even get tots!).
Burger King has the $1 Tendercrisp, and it's a very good effort. They too have a sesame seed bun, and the filet is nice-sized. Toppings are pretty good, but don't always look as fresh as they should. And, I've already spoke about the fries last week.
McDonalds' effort is similar to the McDouble ... for the most part, bland, with a roll that doesn't have sesame seeds. Nothing stands out, BUT the fries always seem to make the sandwich taste better (on a side note, why hasn't any fast-food place, with the exception of Arby's, come up with a really good fry?).
Wendy's $1 chicken sandwich is the original on the dollar menu. The roll is buttery, the toppings are fresh, and thankfully the sandwich is bigger than the $1 burger. One of the many reasons why Wendy's still has the best $1 menu around.
MTV was a cable channel ahead of its time. It promoted music videos ... a foreign concept for the most part. Sure, there were shows like American Bandstand and Solid Gold, but they pretty much promoted a "band" playing a song "live." Other bands did music "videos" to promote their albums in the past, and these may have been sown on music shows, but to have a 24-hour music channel that showed nothing but videos? Could this even work?
Well, it did, and boy did it ever! Videos spewed from this channel like crazy - from the first video, which was ironically called "Video Killed the Radio Star," to "Hot For Teacher," the appetite of the people could not be satisfied. The music video genre jumped to another level with Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video - it was more of a short movie. Music videos became more artistic, more professional, and had more of a storytelling aspect to them.
Sadly, sometime in the 1990's, MTV began abandoning music videos, and now unfortunately, one can really only find music videos on MTV early in the morning (like 5:30 AM). It's a good thing there are so many other music video channels out there representing many, many genres - so it's not a total loss, I guess.
There have been a ton of celebrations in sports history - whether it's the touchdown spike, the high five, the moonwalk (thanks, Donovan), and even the Icky Shuffle. But, one that has taken the country (maybe the world) by storm is the one where two guys jump backwards in the air and smack their .... ummmm ... behinds against each other.
Seriously, it seems like EVERYBODY is doing it. Just watch a college or pro football game. It seems like anytime a touchdown is scored, the guy scoring the TD is jumping backwards and "ass-slapping" all of his teammates. Heck, it even happens when touchdowns aren't scored. Somebody makes a great catch? Backwards-jumping-ass-slap! Somebody gets a sack? You guessed it!
I'm not even sure if there's a name for it - so I submit we call it the B-JAS. Why? I don't know. That's not the point. What do you guys and gals think? Dope or Nope? Personally, I'm tired of it.
It's time once again for Mama Kat's Weekly Homework Assignment! I chose the following prompt this week: Describe in 1000 words or less a time when something happened and you knew that life would never be the same.
Summer came to an end more suddenly than usual. "What do you mean I can't go to the pool anymore," I thought. Thankfully, I was always an early riser, so I had no problems waking up for that first day of Kindergarten. I had to get dressed up all nice - I mean, it was a really warm day, yet I still had to wear long pants! I knew right then and there, that things were going to change.
I felt like a grown up - I had been planning for this day for months! I had new clothes, a new book-bag, and a notebook ... I believe it may have been a Trapper Keeper.
Mom walked me to the bus stop, and I eagerly anticipated School Bus Number 3 coming down the hill - whisking me away to a whole new world! Most of the kids at the stop were nervous, scared, and even sad. Me? I was excited. I couldn't wait to meet new friends. My cousin Drew had gotten on the bus a stop before me, so he was awaiting my entrance (he was a little scared).
That first day was so exciting. The teacher took role, I excitedly raised my hand when I heard my name. My cousin didn't hear his name ... he pretended he was in the same class as me. The teacher in the neighboring room came in and dragged him off. Another friend of mine, Bill, threw up in music class - he was overcome by anxiety as he whimpered, "I don't think I feel so good."
I made it through the entire day, took the bus home, and probably bored the living hell out of my mom as I replayed the entire day.
I've been seeing a lot of commercials in the past month or so on the "Value" menus from the three main competitors - McDonalds, Burger King, and Wendy's. Specifically, they've begun fighting on the double-cheeseburger front. All 3 have their plusses and minuses - let's take a look:
The McDouble: * Plus - one can order a side of the World's greatest fries with it. * Minus - It's probably the most basic and blandest of the burgers.
The Wendy's Double Stack: * Plus - Fresh meat, tasty bun, best toppings. * Minus - It's the smallest of the 3.
The BK Double: * Plus - Flame broiled DOES make a difference, plus, it's the biggest of the three. * Minus - Those Fries are just AWFUL! Plus, most BK's are REALLY SLOW.
When I say "Teddybears," your first thoughts probably center around a sleeping buddy you had back as a little child (no, not Michael Jackson, silly!). You're probably not thinking about an Alt/Indy Rock band, right? That's unfortunate. There's a band out there called "Teddybears," and they've been around since the early 1990's.
They initially started off as a "black-metal band," but have grown up and experimented, using pop, rock, electronica, punk, and even some hip-hop in their music. They even had a song featured on the "FIFA 06" video game. But still, this band has really not been able to crack the ridiculously lame U.S. music "market."
Thankfully, the internet, Pandora, and Slacker (even XM and Sirrius) have been successfully breaking down this confoundingly stupid wall.
One of their newer "hits," called Punkrocker, is one that has intrigued me. No, it doesn't really sound like a punk song (Four Dinners, you can probably chime in on this one), but it has a cool 80's sound. And, if that lead singer's voice sounds familiar, well, I'm pretty sure you've heard him before ... that's right, it's Iggy Pop! How is this not being played in the U.S.?
Many people may have forgotten about this (or some of you youngsters may never have been aware of this), but in the early 1980's, the NFL faced some stiff competition from another football league ... one that originally played in the Spring. This same league battled the NFL fiercely for college football stars, and in many cases won. This league had a national TV contract with ABC and ESPN, and this league had big-time owners - owners like Burt Reynolds and Donald Trump.
But this league lasted less than 1/2 a decade. What were the reasons? Expanding too rapidly? Probably. Moving the sport to the fall to compete directly with the NFL? definitely. Improper marketing techniques? You bet.
But, I loved this league. It worked really well in Philly ... mainly, because at the time the Eagles were in the midst of an awful stretch. The team almost moved to Phoenix at the time, yet many of the "phans" didn't mind, as long as the USFL's Philadelphia Stars were in town. This team was the most successful team in the USFL, making it to the finals every year. There was even talk that the Stars could beat many NFL teams, including Philly's own Eagles.
You can find some more information on the USFL here, in case you're interested.
Also, there's a website that has the entire history of the league, including box scores of games - check it out here!
* I remember being a kindergartner and seeing the 5th graders, and thinking to myself, "There is no way I'm ever going to be able to grow that big in 5 years." Then, when I was a 5th grader and looked at the kindergartners, I thought to myself, "Man, kids are getting smaller and smaller."
* So, why do they call it a SMART Car? The gas mileage isn't very good, AND, if you get in a car accident, chances are you probably won't make it. What's smart about that? They probably work pretty good as city cars, but why wouldn't you just get a Mini Cooper? They look a lot cooler, and are probably a ton safer.
* Chevy Chase sure has made a comeback, hasn't he? He's in a bunch of T-Mobile commercials, and he's been REALLY funny in Community (sitcom on NBC). No, he doesn't do anything too dynamic - your classic Chevy Chase stuff - some good slapstick, funny facial reactions, and impeccable timing. I think we forgot how good of an actor he was over the years ... probably because he's been such a jerk.
It's time once again for Mama Kat's weekly homework assignment. This week, I chose the following prompt: Describe the best/most creative punishment you have ever given your children or received yourself.
It would be hard to pick any of the punishments my mom or dad "demonstrated" on me - whether it was a firm slap to the face, a humiliating ass-spanking, being forced to sit on the steps (I guess an early form of timeout), or the traditional grounding. A total lack of imagination if you ask me ... but still, quite effective. Here's a top 5 list of punishments I would've given myself if I were my parents (does that even make sense?):
5. For the time I called my brother a little pig for not sharing the potato chips ... Mom should've forced me to eat an entire ham ... as many of you know, I fear ham ... this would've been the worst punishment imaginable.
4. For the time I lied about the definition of a whore (I was in 5th grade - I didn't really know what a whore was ... I told my mom, it was a type of horse) ... mom should've forced me to watch Lawrence Welk and HeeHaw for 10 straight hours.
3. For the time I accidentally broke a house window whilst playing sports in the back yard ... Mom or dad should've forced me to wear goofy clothes and shoes to school (oh, wait ... this was already being done ... nevermind).
2. For the time I was caught "replacing" the liquor in my parents' liquor cabinet with water ... Mom and dad should've replaced the liquor with food coloring and urine ... that would've been something the next time I tried to "replace" the liquor.
1. For the time I crashed my parents' car ... they should've told me that they were going to get me a car when I graduated from college, but now could no longer afford to ... oh wait, they did that too ... nevermind!
There was a time in the 1980's when Lionel Richie was cool ... I mean WAY COOL. When Michael Jackson signed on with Pepsi, the Coke people turned to Lionel ... that's how big he was. His mustache seemed to have its own ecosystem ... but people dug it. His hair was flowing with Jerry Curl. He could do no wrong at the time.
Richie's rise coincided with me discovering pop-music on the radio ... prior to that, it was strictly Sesame Street records and German polka for me. It opened a whole world to me ... music with accordions and puppets ?!?!?! Was that even legal?
When I heard Richie's hit song, All Night Long, I felt the rest of my life probably wouldn't be worth living, because I had just heard the greatest song ever created ... it was as if God worked with Richie in the recording studio.
My hips began gyrating ... and I couldn't stop them! (I thought about putting some stupid joke here like, "Lionel had me at Hello," but I figured I'd get too many groans from that one). I WANTED to be dancing ALL NIGHT LONG ... as was depicted by Richie's masterful oratory work.
And, I thought I was cutting edge ... I mean, Richie's song was my first introduction to "reggae" music ... after all, there were steel drums in this song, and Lionel did use some indistinguishable phrase mid-way through the song, just as the party was heating up ... I think it was something like, "Zombo-litte-zetti-mon-ya ... yay ... jumbo-jumbo." I had no idea what it meant, but I wanted to shout it from the roof-tops.
Thankfully, I grew out of this ... and discovered there was better music out there ... but I still can't turn this song off the radio when I hear it.
A local radio station, B-101, started playing Christmas music the day after Halloween. Now, I'm a big fan of Christmas, and I love getting into the Christmas spirit. But, I'm not sure if I like the idea of Christmas music playing on the radio before Thanksgiving.
I guess I feel like Thanksgiving gets ignored or forgotten because of this. And, I'm a big, big fan of Thanksgiving ... turkey, football, family, days off of work ... what's not to love?
So, why do we have to get this Christmas "spirit" pushed on us so soon? (Actually, some department stores started putting up Christmas decorations after Labor Day). I'm a big nope with this - what about you?
Just some odds and ends about me that you probably didn't know (or didn't need to know).
* My mom used to cut my hair ... that's not so crazy ... but, she used to cut my hair with me sitting in a high chair ... again, not that crazy ... but, I was sitting in my brother's high chair, and I was about 12-years old.
* I love watching sports ... not crazy ... I love watching sports news ... still not crazy ... but, when my team loses, I can't watch the sports news ... and I end up not knowing what to do with myself.
* You could probably consider me a meat-and potatoes kind of guy ... except, I'm not a big fan of potatoes (with the exception of french fries and potato chips) ... I prefer elbow macaronis ... so, you should probably consider me a meat and noodles kind of guy.
* I LOVE the Outer Banks ... so much so, that I check out www.avalonpier.com just about every day. I check the pier-cam ... which always seems to remind me that I'd rather be there than at work.
* For a "meat and noodles" kind of guy, I, for some reason, watch far too many romantic comedies.
* My parents were a little behind the times ... we didn't have a microwave oven until I was in 10th grade ... I can't remember what I was forced to eat before the microwave.
* My mom always cooked hot dogs for me on Saturdays when I was growing up. She would boil them, and serve them with a side of toast. For some reason, we never seemed to have hot dog rolls. Sometimes she even served the hot dogs with rye bread. Weird.
Remember the cassette tape? I know, I know - the cassette was out in the 70's ... but it really gained prominence in the 80's. This is when record and tape clubs became huge. I was part of one - I believe it was BMG. I remember getting the 7 or 8 cassettes all at once ... I was overwhelmed. I didn't know what to do with myself. All that music ... only one cassette player ... how would I ever listen to all of that music? (Of course, now with over 1500 cds to my name, I could easily answer that).
Ah the memories ... recording music off the radio ... recording ourselves making fart sounds, making mix tapes with awful names (like Awesome Rock!), actually having to hold the fast forward button down to get to the next song, sometimes having to respool the cassette if the tape unfurled ... yes sir, these were cutting edge times!
I'm not sure how I survived watching shows and sports without you. That old CRT, she means nothing to me! She could never make me feel the way you do, and that's the honest truth. Every day, you look great, lifelike, full of such crystal clear color. I could never go back to ol' "Standard Def."
The way you show baseball, football, and hockey games, makes my heart melt. It's as if you were showing them just to me! And I appreciate every second of it ... even when my sports team doesn't win!
And those movies in high definition? OH .... MY ... GOD!! I get butterflies just turning you on. My life will never be the same, thanks to you!
**** On a side note, the real object of my affection is my wife! And, we're celebrating 6 years of bliss this weekend (we actually unofficially celebrated our anniversary with the cruise last month, but she's so wonderful, I figure we need to celebrate again!).
Lots of fast food restaurants try and drum up business by doing special giveaways or contests. Burger King and McDonalds seem to lead the way with these - sponsoring movies like Transformers or Jumanji by pasting the movie titles and characters on soda cups, sandwich wrappers, bags, and the store (and bombarding us with commercials reminding us that McDonalds and Transformers have teamed up). Let's not forget those cheap "prizes" that come with the happy meals. Kids love these "toys" for some reason ... heck, I remember wanting McDonalds happy meals just to get my hands on Ronald's toys ... er, wait, that didn't sound good.
I remember collecting these Transformer Happy Meal toys as a kid - this was back when the cartoon was out (not the blockbuster movies that I can't get into for some reason). McDonalds "transformed" their meals into "Transformers." The thing is, that these transformers really didn't have any weapons ... all they did was change from a chicken McNugget box into a ... well ... um ... a chicken McNugget robot. And, unlike the intricate detail given to the actual Transformers, there was not much detail at all the Mc-Formers. Oh well, I guess you get what you pay for.
I've got two words for ya - Sar-casm. If you aren't hip with that, you probably should just click to the next blog. I blog about my daily life, current hot topics, stupid conversations, or just about anything that is on my mind.