Category Archives: Retro

Ketchup With Us #36b – Hi, Tee!

Ms Mel and ODNT are giving me another 10 minutes to write something, anything. Starting…now! Ketchup With Us

I guess this is a sequel to the other entry about T shirts. Or further evidence that I am a hoarder.

Well I found some boxes in my parent’s closet (well what was my closet when I lived there), and guess what? I found another stash of memories and yes they are t shirts. Band/music t shirts to be exact.

Through my college days and for a few years after I used to go to as many concerts as I could. My favorite bands (metal & industrial mainly) toured frequently and hey, it was a night out. I admit I couldn’t stand many aspects of it. Having to stand around waiting between bands, which venues did to boost beer sales or something like that. My favorite venue was Roseland, which has just shuttered its doors, since they had an 11pm curfew. Places like Irving Plaza have 1 am. Not that I wanted to end early (yes I did) but that it made bands go one right after one another when a lot of them were playing. So standing around with the 1-2 friends who actually liked the shows got boring.

People are another factor of course (aren’t they always?). Being squished, pushed, kicked and crushed by others wasn’t fun. I got to stand in the front row to see TOOL, and the forward push thankfully didn’t break my ribs. The crowd surfers were landing on me all night. I would go home, sticky with sweat (mostly my own, gah) and the stench of smoke, patchouli and weed on me (they allowed smoking in most venues back then). The shirts are faded now, and trying them on*, psht I look like the ‘rock and roll will never die’ guy hanging on to a memory. All I need is a mullet and white sneakers. *If I get a dozen likes on this, I’ll post a picture!

So will I keep these? Hell no, I bet some punk would love my broken in metal shirts. I see them at these trendy community flea markets sometimes – they are old enough to be ‘retro’. Somewhere I know I still have the ticket stubs.

One of the last big shows I went to was Ozzfest. Rainy weather, shitty crowd and the bands let me down with the level of their suckage. To culminate, a roadie took out his life’s frustration on me, leading to an ER visit.

October 2001 I went to see TOOL again at Madison square garden this time. SEATS!, but everyone stood?! It was a sold out event but since 9/11 was fresh in minds, people couldn’t give away their tickets.

So I’m done with arena/stand around rock. Now I see my friends and other indie bands in the lower east side. I sit in tiny tables and rickety chairs, sip wine or cocktails, sometimes tea, say hello& thanks afterwards to the musicians, and enjoy it all without injury or strange smells.

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Filed under clothes, Life, Retro

Less of More in ‘One Four

For all I wanted to get done (which is a lot), there is even more I want less of.

The phrase “Let’s have/We had that conversation” – When first thunk up and unleashed upon the world, that phrase seemed to be in the context of meaningful social or current issues (you know, the things not discussed on the internet). At a recent meeting, I started to keep tally of one person who used it about 6 times, she ‘had that conversation’ with everyone she encountered. I also added one more to the total, as I am sure she related the meeting in another conversation.

Also, “’So and so’ won the internet” – winning the internet is not a prize…except YOUR blog, that is. I would rather win cash or the equivalent in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit models, and let you keep your blog, so you can keep putting out awesomeness.

Cell phone photos, including selfies. ‘Selfies’ was the Oxford word of the year, and I wonder what word got eliminated from dictionaries to make room for that and ‘twerking’. In fact, there should be less cell phone photos being taken. Phones should have a limit of 10 photos a day – back in my day we had film and every picture you took had to count, cuz dammit you had to pay to get them developed. Now anyone can take 50 photos of the same damn thing, quickly and without care to the details, hoping 1-2 come out useful. Quality, not quantity!

Taking offense to anything not directed at you. Unless the media outlets call YOU out on your life, your view, or your job, there is no reason to get hurty feelings on anything. That leads to you being angry, which equals wasted time. Also if the media outlets call you out for anything, it’s the same as winning the internet. They used to cover important people, now you are the new Honey Boo Boo. Then again, if you manage to get interviewed by a reporter on the street, well good for you! (skip to about 2:00 in, if you want)

Meme’s. for instance, there’s one of ‘Willy Wonka’ with random captions that refute the logic of any opinion which has opened the eyes of no one ever. All it proves is that Gene Wilder was a better Willy Wonka than Johnny Depp.

Less Johnny Depp playing eccentric characters that get higher billing than the main actors. Bonus of less hangout time with Tim Burton. Now before you throttle me about the face and torso for this statement, I suggest perhaps he spend more time acknowledging/visiting/whisking away to a tropical island those of you who write letters, dedicate blogs, and who have added the laborious task of slathering him in sunscreen several times a day (and oddly enough, night), to bucket lists. You’re welcome.

Anything remade or retro 80’s without acknowledgement that the reason for bringing it back is because the 80’s were totally radical (to the max). There is a reason why a new version of RoboCop is in theaters (well not a good one) but as a comparison to why “Face-Off” will (hopefully) never be ‘rebooted’. Never say never, though.

Holiday car commercials. Why are they still showing Michael Bolton serenading new car owners?! The Honda da..I mean Holidays are over! Saying that this travesty should end isn’t something to be bookmarked for next November, but right now.

Losing the Lottery. I have purchased more than enough tickets with non-winning numbers on them. Time to start picking those correct ones. Either that, or let me get struck by lightning while fighting off hippopotamuses with Kate Upton, who decided to go out with me. (Well not everyone wants Johnny Depp. For some reason, right?).

So what do YOU want less of this year?

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Filed under Complaints, Life, Lists, Politics, Resolutions, Retro, Whining

Monday Listicles – OutFoxed

Yes I know it’s Friday, but hey, the listicle is still accepting entries 😉 This particular topic is “10 Shows That Were Canceled Too Soon”, in our humble opinions. I thought about it, and realized that while shows capture and lose my interest, this list, which spans from the 80’s until a few years ago, is almost all FOX shows (channel 5 in NYC). I have always been a fan of their offbeat programs, I don’t know why. Married with Children and the Simpsons owned the top ratings back in the day, but more often than not, there was a rotation of complete barrel bottom dreck. Apparently I love(d) it.

No sorry I didn’t provide any still images or links, you will have to IMDB them.
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1. Werewolf – a young college student, Eric has a friend who confesses he is a werewolf. Eric manages to kill his cursed friend, but is bitten. Just before dying, the friendwolf tells Eric that he has to kill the alpha werewolf, an old man named Skorzeny (Chuck Conners!), in order to be ‘cured’. The episodes take us through Eric’s trek across the country as he helps out people along the way and hunts Skorzeny. Sort of like the Hulk and A-Team. Eric kills Skorzeny in the season finale, but finds out that there was an even more powerful werewolf! There was no second season, dammitall.

2. Get a Life – Chris Elliot plays a 30-something paperboy (named Chris) who lives with his parents. Somewhere around the second season (yes there was one!), he moves out of there and with a friend (Brian Doyle-Murray). Basically it’s about his clueless, idiotic existence complete with obscure references and running gags. I was in awe of its ingenious stupidity; I actually found an old VHS tape with one of the funniest episodes I have ever seen (S.P.E.W.E.Y. the alien) which yes I watched again. I heard that the show was put onto DVD, but there was NO mastering, and managed to look like it was off someone’s VHS that they pulled out of storage (déjà vu?). Meh – that makes it like a joke that you have to explain.

3. Brimstone – an NYPD cop (Ezekial Stone) kills the man who raped his wife, and a few years later, Stone is killed, and his soul goes to Hell! While he laments that the rapist is in heaven (or at least not hell with him – despite his sin, he was murdered with malice), a group of 100+ condemned souls break out of hell (did they cut through the screen door or something?!). The devil makes a deal with him – bring back the souls and the Dark Lord (no not Vader) will bring him back to life (if you can trust anyone to uphold their deal, apparently it’s the Devil) Even the reviews said the show wouldn’t last, and of course it didn’t.

4. Keen Eddie – Mark Valley plays a NYC cop in the UK. It lasted a complete season (I did get the DVD set as a gift, some epsiodes I can’t really recall!) and while I hoped for a second season, Valley went on to Boston Legal and other shows – the actors know when the well is dry! (

4a – Mary Valley would later star in “Human Target”, which in itself was a remake that had already failed on fox in the 80’s. It lasted 2 seasons – even a star cast couldn’t save it.

5. Dark Angel – Jessica Alba’s breakout role. A bunch of rowdy brats, who were genetically modified with various animal DNA, break out of the super secret guv’ment facillility. At some point before or after this, terrorists EMP the USA, making us a 3rd World Nation PDQ. It lost the original focus in the second season (yes there was one), as subplots started creeping in. There was a season finale, which half-doubled as a series finale.

6. Futurama – Yes it gets reboots every once in a while but it was never given proper respect. Back in the day, it was pre-empted by Fox’s Sunday football games post game show, even if the game was over, which they timed so that ‘King of the Hill’ was still shown. Bobby Hill vs Bender?! C’mon.

7. Cavemen – yes the show that was based on the GEICO cavemen. I knew the life span of this show would be measured in minutes (I half-expected it to be canceled in the middle of an episode), and so I was insistent on watching it. I was berated by family and friends, who tried their best to distract me from watching it. The show lasted about a month I think, but it’s now a faded gag.

8. Alien Nation – A TV series based on the 80’s movie, it was about two LAPD detectives, one human, the other an alien. There was always that underlying theme of prejudice and other social class struggles. While it was cancelled after a few seasons, public demand had several more TV movies made through the 90’s which tied up many loose ends.

9. V – A great movie/ mini-series in the 80’s, it was a freaky show for a kid like me. I recall that later seasons seemed more open-and-close plotlines, as headway in the struggle was not clearly defined. Eventually some sort of truce was arranged – with a twist, which they never got around to figuring out. I did not watch the remake from a few years ago.

10. Terminator: the Sarah Conner Chronicles An incredibly dumb title for a show, but hey I like those wacky killin machines, so I was game from the first episode. Summer Glau played a waifish terminator, but even her appeal didn’t bring the ton of Firefly fanboys. Bringing in Brian Austin-Green and Shirley Manson (of the band ‘Garbage’) didn’t boost either. I think that the movie “Terminator: Salvation” which was pretty underwhelming, may have been the final nail in this.

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Filed under Lists, Monday Listicles, Prompts, Retro, Television, Writing Challenges

Eight Bit of Foolishness

Music of the day:




Being part of the first console generation, I grew up playing games that were paintings on a cave wall compared to today. With so little byte/bit space to work with, developers worked tireless hours to bring us the most basic, repetitive storylines, with graphics that in many cases, were little more than dots, and music that was a random set of sounds done in rhythm. We loved it though.

Apparently we still do.

As technology progressed, each element grew. Gameplay expanded, graphics got better, and the music had actual composers! Hell even Nine Inch Nails made a cameo as a weapon in Quake. Now that my peers and I are older, from our mid 30’s-40’s (some of us passing through another year today!), we look back on those times fondly; the games were no less violent, but blowing up tanks and planes of ‘enemies’ who were undefinable pixels/polygons lends a certain amount of guiltlessness, and fun!

Now, songs are remixed and comments about adolescent moments (more like hours, every day) rushing back are all about how great those games were. I’ve made friends with people based on our agreement that Zak McKraken and the Alien Mindbenders was the single greatest game ever. (Then again, I have also tapped steins with people based on Simpsons quotes and dive bars.

I’ve mentioned this before; in fact, when I looked at the new Windows tablet, I wondered how the hell I would load up the original Quake on that. With Windows 8, I see only a version that is even less likely to be able to load up all my old DOS games.

As quickly as we move forward, still we bring a few things with us along the way.

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Filed under Games, Life, Polls, Retro, Video Games

Trifextra 34 – Game On!

This weekend’s challenge is:
Describe something that is three different things at the same time.  Oh, and do it in 33 words.  Structure your response however you want; it doesn’t have to mirror Mr. Gaiman’s form.  Feel free to leave us guessing.  Just make it your own, and make it good.

The Atari Game System:

It was a state of the art gaming experience.
Then it was obsolete, not fit for a landfill in Mexico.
Now it’s ‘old skool’, still fun and PC compatible!

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I still have my collection in a closet (I dug it out of storage a few years ago. No I haven’t hooked it up to a big screen TV. Yes, ET is there. Joysticks are broken, paddles are ok. Manuals are crisp and new.


Will put it on eBay soon. Unless you’re makin’ an offer 😉

Now they all fit here.

On 2 CD’s we have 155 games between them,
with manuals, commercials, prototypes games and even mp3s.
Sure looks like it takes up less space!

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Filed under Retro, Trifextra, Trifextra Writing Challenge, Video Games, Writing, Writing Challenges

WayBack Wednesday – Nuuttinnn?

This week’s installment of WbW is one of the reasons I started this information skit project dealie in the foist place.


Ok. Where do I begin?

Seriously. Holy crap, this is the goldmine of 80’s commercials. I am going to have to categorize this.

Setting: Pizzeria. Let’s look at the signs posted around: Week old pizza, half price. No Screaming. Be Patient, Meatball! Yeah Jimmy’s running on fumes as it is, but hey he makes the pizzas to order.

That brings me to the next part: The cast. Two old Italian guys. That in itself is a lost art around here. Back in the day it almost seemed as though pizzaguys were mentored into the trade, like locksmiths, tailors, or Jedi Knights. Closely monitored during their earliest years, and if there was something that the Masters could sense about the young lad, he was taken away to an isolated compound (not a Hut!), far away, complete with wood firing stoves. There they learned even saucing, flipping the dough, and how much cheese actually qualifies as ‘extra’.

These days, I walk into a pizza joint and it’s a bunch of guys doing specialized or non-skilled labor: one makes pizzas, one tosses em in/pulls em out of the oven, another slices and hands ‘em out to you, another rings you up, oh yeah and one guy slinging sodas. Consider also that you’ll most often see that scenario in the .99 cents pizza places (pizza usually runs 2.50 -2.75 a slice) which are popping up all over NYC, Adam Smith would shit his knickers if he saw this. The worst economic model you’ve likely ever seen, which makes me wonder (being the advocate of lower profits on individual sales vs. higher volume) where they are cutting corners.

The kids:Leader kid in a leather jacket who’s just confident enough, but not quite a hoodlum-check. Girl with teased up hair and knitted sweater in some neon color and light Valley Girl airs– check. Nerdy guy with big glasses that are actually stylin’ for the time-check. Give them a couple more years and they are the cast for the latest Friday the 13th installment. Or Saved by the Bell. Same thing.

Zach Attack!

For some reason these kids want a pizza with extra cheese, but no tomato sauce (‘white pizzas’ do exist) but he flips the script a little more, BAM! No crust. These kids are ahead of their time, since gluten free is all the rage now that they invented an allergy to it, and even a few years ago these young upstarts could have claimed they were doing Atkins. So technically this commercial is still relevant. I wonder if Hollywood will remake this…

The order has been placed, the challenge voiced, the gauntlet thrown down, so Fred want Jimmy to make a cheese with nuttin’. “Nuuttttinnn?” You know you used to repeat it with your friends. Yes you did. Or at least now you will.

The Pitch– Polly-O String Cheese! In sticks! Individually wrapped! Stringy! Less cheese per package than a brick of mozzarella, but the same price! Now THAT would make Mr. Smith happy. I admit I had this packed in my lunch many times, forgoing any cheese in my sammich for this version. Dammit I love my mozz.

How does this turn out? Well Jimmy actually doesn’t make them a cheese wit nuttin; if he had, it would have been a pile of rapidly cooling mozzarella cheese, which does not congeal well when it cools, and not some pre-wrapped brand name cheeses. It really made no sense; where did the box appear from?

By the way, what’s with Jimmy (at about 19 seconds)? Does he go into a catatonic state when hit with this request, or did he reach Zen status? Consider that reaching your *ahem* peak usually involves some making weird faces, Jimmy may have had some Nirvana level big O going on.

Finally we get to ‘the best part of the pizza’ that is this commercial– The comments! “Bellissimo!” “Magnifique!” “Se se Bon” (or whatever). I have a story for this…
Years later: I am in Italian 1, Spring ’97. We are learning how to describe ‘good’ and ‘bad’ things. The professor mentions bella, and if the person/place/thing is even gooder than that, it is…Bellisimo.

Silence from everyone. I look around. Everyone’s eyes are giving it away. They know.

Suddenly hands rise and a student asks, “Aren’t there other words to describe. I mean manifique or something…” the professor moves to intervene, but not fast enough.

“Whatever,” another student blurts out, “I just wanna know what’s SE SE BON!”
The room erupts with laughter as the professor joins in knowingly “Yes, they…they just threw words in there, it’s not Italian at all.” Further proof that the 80’s made an impact that lives on in our hearts and minds, and could be referred to at any time for laughs.

Final Word: The best part of the pizza is the end crust!

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Filed under Creative Writing, Humor, Retro, Wayback wednesday

WayBack Wednesday – The Ice Cream Man

Today’s Wayback Wednesday has been pre-empted. Well sort of. I have the blog planned, and it is an 80’s clip preciously dug up from YouTube, but as I was searching around I came across a video clip, and it brought me back to summers while growing up. So inspiration grabbed me and I built on it.

I’m posting it first, but I would recommend reading the story first, then watching. It will be worth it, I promise ;).

When I was younger, I lived in a section of Brooklyn that was a complex of tall apartment buildings. It was large, more populated than some national cities, but there were common place, people and other fixtures of the community. One of those people was “Johnny the Ice Cream Man”. He drove a white pickup with the frayed, faded pictures of various ice creams scattered along the refrigerated truck. You’d hear the ‘jingle jingle jingle’ of the row of small bronze bells on the top of the windshield that he pulled as he parked down the loop I lived near. My mom gave my sister and I enough for an ice cream each when she knew we’d be out when he came around. I varied what I would get each time, but “Bubble-O Bill” was a favorite, as it was ice cream with a big gumball nose. That, or an ‘Italian ice’ in a yellow cardboard box; which you always let soften a bit so you could flip it over and scrape off the settled ‘flavor’ on the bottom.

That's about as close actual fruit will come to those ices.

He always knew, without looking, if he had what you asked for, and where it was. The only openings were two small latched doors, and he would duck his head in, sometimes up to his waist, looking for ice cream, and emerge with your treat.

Johnny was about average height, and skinny, always wearing brown pants and a blue shirt. He was balding with white/gray wisps of hair from a comb-over covering his scalp blowing in the breeze. His exposed skin (arms and face) was dark, the tone that older Italian men get when they spend all day in the sun for years. When you paid him, he’d give you your change ‘chink chink’ from the coin slot machine he had attached to his belt.

If you bought an Italian ice, and wanted one of those flat wood spoons, you’d go to the passenger seat of his car where an old man, undoubtedly his father, would give it to you, as well as these little pink candies wrapped in opaque plastic. They weren’t flavorful, had the consistency somewhere between gum and regular candy, and were always ice cold, but you took one anyway. It was free, and the old man liked doing something.

He had a good portion of the ice cream route in our community, and did rounds several times a day from late spring to early fall. I’m positive he was the first ‘owner’ of that route, as the community was built in the 70’s (I grew up in the 80’s), and I can imagine he made a good return on the investment. Even in his old age he wouldn’t quit it; he’d work until he went to his grave, probably just like his old man. I could see it on Johnny’s face already in his late 30’s early 40’s; that tired, non-smiling, but still friendly way in which he worked.

Some years later he got a new truck, a black pickup, but kept the refrigerated section, which now contrasted in color and age. I had stopped getting ice cream for a while by then, but one summer afternoon after I graduated high school, I saw him coming down the loop of the section I had been hanging out in with some friends. He was by himself this time, but physically, he looked the same, just maybe 10 years older. By this time he had sodas as well, so I bought a Clearly Canadian Black Cherry clear soda from him (Damn I still remember that like it just happened). He gave me a nod, I thought maybe I saw the recognition flicker in his eyes, but I didn’t pursue it.

So seeing that video brought me back. It looks like he went bald by that time, and went through yet another truck. You see how he greeted the person taking the video; just remembering names and such brought grown men back to their childhood again, with bragging rights on how long they knew him.

At 26 seconds you see it. When I did, it was like a time warp. Later you’ll see his hand go to his waist for the change dispenser. I’d bet that it was the same one.

I checked around, found out he died in July 2009.

Thanks Johnny, for all that ice cream and for the memories that won’t melt.

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Filed under Creative Writing, Day In the Life, Life, Retro, Uncategorized, Wayback wednesday