On one hand, I think I should be given a pat on the back for making such a glorious return to form after being absent from these weekly League assignments for at least a couple of months now. On the other hand, this was such an easy post to do because I basically just recycled my 21 Red-iculous, Random Things About Me post, so I should lose a couple of points for laziness. On the other other hand (because some people have three), it’s also lazy that this week’s assignment is just the word “blue”. Just sayin.’
In the spirt of this week’s photo challenge, I tried to come up with some really clever word-play around the word “blue”, like blue-tiful, blue-some, etc. before finally coming up with “blue-kakke” only to reject it because I’m filing it away in case I ever need the perfect name for a Smurf porn parody. So instead I give you…
21 Boringly Blue Things
(You Might Not Know) About Me
My one regret while putting this together is that I no longer have my cassingle of Debbie Gibson’s “Out of the Blue.” It would have been the piece de resistance of this entire collage.
Back in March, my homies and I in The League went on a fantasy shopping spree to Hake’s Americana and Collectibles where I racked up a bill for over $1600 worth of useless but totally awesome crap that I’m certain would look fantastic adorning the walls of Casa de Crafti. It was one of my favorite League assignments to date, so I was pretty happy to see we’re doing it again this week–not only because it’s fun to window shop (hey, I’m great at picking out stuff I can’t afford to buy), but also because it requires practically no writing effort on my part. Win/win!
As a child of the 80s browsing an auction full of collectibles decades older than myself, it was hard for me to find stuff that really “spoke” to me, as most of it was way before my time (not to mention, there was a disappointing lack of Ninja Turtles this time around). But buried underneath all the Howdie Doodie, Roy Rogers, World War II memorabilia, and other pop culture stuff I mostly don’t care about, I was able to find a few gems that are much more “me.” And Star Wars. There’s always Star Wars…
Here’s what I bought, or would have bought, if I wasn’t living on hot dogs and baked beans right now:
And now for the less exciting part where I explain what drew me to these items:
#1 – Set of 4 “Star Wars” Glasses
These Star Wars drinking glasses were sold in Burger King restaurants in 1978, and the set comes with the original cardboard display stand. I love the vivid colors and classic Star Wars imagery. But you know what I love more? Back when Coke was just 59 cents…
Starting Bid Price: $100.00
#2 – 1991 “Batman” Statue by Graphitti Designs
It’s Batman perched on a Gargoyle. What’s not to love? Designed by Dick Giordano and sculpted by Randy Bowen, this gothic Batman statue looks badass and captures the essence of my favorite era of Batman.
Starting Bid Price: $150.00
#3 – Rare “Space Invaders” Arcade Button
Promoting its 1980 arcade release, this mildly suggestive Space Invaders button is not only a rare piece of gaming history but also a badge of honor for nerds everywhere who don’t know what it means to score otherwise.
Starting Bid Price: $65.00
#4 – Eyeball in Hand Pez Dispenser
Of course this psychadelic Pez dispenser came from the 60s, because drugs. Back then you hippies were probably loading more than just Pez into these things. I just think it looks cool.
Starting Bid Price: $155.55
#5 – 1940s & 50s Drug-Themed Paperback Books
Speaking of drugs, these old drug novels caught my eye. Back then, people’s attitudes toward relatively harmless recreational drugs were hilarious (Reefer Madness anyone?), and not just because they apparently have no idea how to spell marijuana.
Starting Bid Price: $100.00
#6 – “Midnight Owl” Boxed Transistor Radio
Does this owl look familiar? He’s a replica from the 1981 fantasy film Clash of the Titans! Cooler still, he’s a working transistor radio with jeweled eyes you turn for tuning and volume. With its stop-motion weirdness and crazy Medusa head, That movie used to scare the crap out of me when I was little. But me and the Owl were cool.
Starting Bid Price: $100.00
#7 – Life-size “Superman the Movie” Standees
Fresh off seeing Man of Steel in theaters, I’m nostalgic for the 80s Superman movies I grew up with. As much as I enjoyed Henry Cavill’s performance, Christopher Reeves will always be “my” Superman. This lot of life-size Superman standees are 69″ tall and would look great in my future movie theater room. Or laying next to me in bed. Can you give me and Superman some time alone, please?
Starting Bid Price: $100.00
#8 – Rare 40″ Tall “Pee Wee Herman” Doll
YES! One of my life goals is to own a Pee Wee Herman doll! Look, I never said I was much of a dreamer. Sadly, this doll isn’t the kind that talks, so I guess I’ll just have to keeping working on my other life goal of perfecting my Pee Wee Herman impression.
Starting Bid Price: $200.00
#9 – Indiana Jones “Raiders of the Lost Ark” Action Figure
With the exception of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, I love all of the Indiana Jones movies and have fond memories of watching them with my Dad. This Indiana Jones action figure from Raiders of the Lost Ark is fully poseable, has “quick draw” whip action, and captures Harrison Ford just the way I like him–young, handsome, and capable of making good movies.
Starting Bid Price: $121.00
#10 – “Snoopy” Moon Landing Button from 1969
The excitement and wonder of the Moon Landing is one of those things I’m jealous older generations got to experience. In stark contrast, my “exciting” space memory is being sent home from school the day the Challenger exploded, trying to understand why all the teachers were crying. (Hey, I was only 5.) I love this Snoopy moon landing button for it’s historic significance and simple innocence.
Starting Bid Price: $100.00
#11 – Topps Insult Postcards/Funny Valentines
I really dig the wacky artwork on these Topps Insult Postcards wax packs from the 1960s. If you sent me one of these for Valentine’s Day, I’d have totally gone to first base with you.
Starting Bid Price: $100.00
#12 – “The Golden Girls” Cast-Signed Photo
My love for a sitcom about four old ladies living together started because there was nothing else to watch late at night on the shitty TV in my bedroom while growing up, but has since turned genuine. With only 1 out of 4 cast members still alive, it’s only a matter of time before this Golden Girls signed photo skyrockets in value. No pressure, Betty White.
Starting Bid Price: $100.00
#13 – “Robot” Battery-Operated Directional Toy
I must have a thing for these retro Japanese robot toys, because I picked out a similar-looking item in the last auction assignment. This one is battery-operated and changes direction whenever he runs into an obstacle.
Starting Bid Price: $500.00
#14 – “E.T. The Extraterrestrial” Metal Lunchbox
Classic Spielberg, and one of my favorite movies of all time. This E.T. tin lunchbox features great, Alvinesque artwork and comes with a matching Thermos.
Starting Bid: $100.00
#15 – “Blinky the One-Eyed Florida Gator” Button
This item is kind of an oddball thing to pick, even for me. I just love the sheer kitschiness of it, and the fact that at some point, back in the 1960s, the people of Florida worshipped a one-eyed alligator. Too bad there’s just a button. I would watch a whole cartoon of this.
Starting Bid Price: $65.00
#16 – “Star Wars” Jewelry Lot
Finally, some Star Wars stuff for girls! This lot of Star Wars jewelry includes three rings and stick pins bearing the likenesses of Darth Vader, 3CPO, and R2D2, as well as a set of six pendants featuring these same characters plus Chewbacca, a Stormtrooper, and an X-wing.
Starting Bid Price: $100.00
#17 – Lot of “Blackstar” Carded Action Figures
I have this auction to thank for helping me remember Blackstar, a favorite fantasy cartoon from my childhood I had long forgotten. I almost peed my pants in excitement when I took a closer look at these action figures and realized what they were. A) That cartoon was awesome. B) I had no idea there was an accompanying toyline (but I shouldn’t be surprised, since this is the 80s we’re talking about), and C) I must find a way to re-watch it soon!
Starting Bid Price: $250.00
#18 – Early 1900s Risque Corkscrew
Another oddball item for me. I like weird, fringe stuff like this that reminds me how some things throughout human history never change–Victorian people were horny too! I imagine this corkscrew would have been quite the conversation-starter back then, what with the placement of that screw…well, do you really need me to connect the dots here?
Starting Bid Price: $100.00
#19 – Vincent Price Horror Record Album
I would listen to Vincent Price read from a phone book I love the man’s voice so much, but one of the more entertaining things he’s known for are his narrations of horror stories. This double LP set features The Story of Witchcraft, Demonology and The Occult.
Starting Bid Price: $100
#20 – Franken Berry Cereal Box Flat
Franken Berry isn’t my favorite of the General Mills monster cereals–an honor that belongs to the elusive Yummy Mummy–but he is is the only monster who can lay claim to turning little kids’ poop pink, so that makes him #2 in my book (pun fully intended). This Franken Berry cereal flat is notable for its free Monster Action Ring offer.
Starting Bid Price: $200.00
What’s the damage?
I only had starting bid prices to go on, so the actual total would probably be many hundreds if not thousands higher, but here’s how I did:
I’m kind of proud I spent even more money than last time!
This week The League is all about first impressions. Though I’m certain this won’t be a popular choice, my mind immediately went to a movie that has one of the best opening monologues in cinematic history:
My favorite Johnny Depp movie isn’t Edward Scissorhands or Pirates of the Carribean: Jesus Christ Please Stop Making These Movies.
It’s this lesser-known gem from 2004 called The Libertine, in which Depp gives one of the best performances of his career. He also says “The C-Word” quite a lot–something like 50 times by my count.
In 17th century London, Depp plays John Wilmot, second Earl of Rochester during the prime–and eventual fall–of his societal reign under King Charles II (John Malkovich). John is a gifted writer, but a misanthropic snob whose fondness for alcohol and insatiable lust become his undoing.
His slow decline in both health and social status is brilliantly portrayed by Depp, culminating in a spectacularly uncomfortable speech, in which he looks like this:
The 80s had no shortage of weird and uncomfortable children’s shows featuring costumed performers, but this week’s League topic was to write about something I hated as a kid, so I feel it’s my duty to bring the atrocities of Zoobilee Zoo to your attention.
For those who don’t remember it, Zoobilee Zoo was a terrifying children’s show starring a bunch of overly-enthusiastic people dressed up like animals known as “Zoobles” who sang, danced, and introduced young children everywhere to what they would later learn was furry porn. Also Ben Vereen.
The show ran from 1986 – 87, which means I was about five or six when I watched it. But even as a child squarely within the show’s target demographic, I can remember feeling embarrassed whenever it came on. Like somehow I could sense the performers were all rejects from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats, or that the show was endorsed by The American Federation of Teachers even without knowing it was marketed as such (thanks random press release I found online!). Things that teachers like are lame, and I, clearly a kid who was too cool for school, recognized this. Sesame Street or Mr. Rogers Neighborhood this show was not.
Let’s introduce the Zoobles to you!
Here’s the main cast of characters, including each Zooble’s job, because apparently Zoobilee Zoo is so broke all the animals have to work. And I thought the Baltimore Zoo was ghetto.
Sandy Grinn as “Bill Der Beaver” The Zooble with the most practical job and least clever name, Bill Der Beaver is a BUILDER and inventor. Get it?
Louise Vallance as “Whazzat Kangaroo”
The bimbo of Zoobily Zoo. She’s not a very talented musician, but gets by on her (good?) looks. Guys dig chicks with fuzzy pink tails.
Forrest Gardner as “Van Go Lion” He’s a painter just like Van Gogh, but still has both his ears. He’s also the reason I once misspelled “Van Gogh” in a school report. I thought this show was supposed to teach us shit?
Karen Hartman as “Talkatoo Cockatoo” Easily the most annoying resident of Zoobilee Zoo, she’s a vicious gossip who “spreads the news” as well as bird flu.
Gary Schwartz as “Bravo Fox”
He’s a juggler and magician. Unofficially, he’s also kind of an asshole.
Michael B. Moynahan as “Lookout Bear”
I guess he’s supposed to be a scout of some sort who looks out for danger. I told you Zoobilee Zoo was ghetto.
Ben Vareen as “Mayor Ben” In Zoobilee Zoo, one of the perks of being the Mayor (besides dressing like a pimp!) is you don’t have to identify yourself with a specific animal. To this day I still don’t know what the hell Mayor Ben is supposed to be, besides token black guy.
The Zoobles are supposed to resemble animals, but whoever designed the costumes opted not to go full-furry. So instead we have an awkward mix of costumes, theatrical make-up and prosthetic noses I find extremely unappealing, almost repellent. There’s just something about people in bright costumes and make-up with big noses I can’t get past. I don’t know if there’s an exact phobia for whatever this is, but maybe if you’re one of those people who are afraid of clowns, you can understand. I guess this explains why I never wanted to get my face painted as a kid.
Oddly, I’m not bothered by people wearing costumes that fully cover their faces, or anthropomorphic animals in puppet form. Muppets and I are cool. Zoobles and I? Not cool.
My main problem with Zoobilee Zoo (besides being creepy as hell) was that it tried too hard. Everyone on this show acts like they just snorted ten lines of coke.I refuse to believe anyoneis that enthusiastic about wearing shitty animal costumes while spoon feeding dumb kids all the typical social values and moral lessons you’d expect from a show like this, including the obligatory “people in wheelchairs are just like all the rest of us!” episode that seemed to be a popular theme in 80s shows. Even Saved by the Bell was guilty of that one.
By far the worst thing about Zoobilee Zoo, however, is the theme song which I’m convinced was conjured up in a Satanic ritual. I don’t recommend listening unless you want it stuck in your head. All day.
Zoobilee Zoo, Zoobilee Zoo Magic and wonder are waiting for you
It’s as close as a dream
And as bright as the brightest blue Welcome to Zoobilee Zoo
Really? As close as a dream? As bright as the brightest blue? They weren’t able to come up with any better similes? All these animals with jobs and not one of them is a writer.
P.S. Did the show ever say what animal Mayor Ben is supposed to be? Does anyone know? I’d look up some more episodes on YouTube to try and find out, but frankly that’s too much effort for a show I’m supposed to hate.
This week The League wants to know what our guilty pleasures are. Well friends (that is, if you still want to be friends after this) the time has come for me to reveal my secret shame: my deep and unconditional love for Ace of Base. I’ve been sitting on this gem for a long time, carrying the torch alone, waiting for just the right moment to publicly embarrass myself.
But today you could say I SAW THE SIGN. (Sorry. Had to.)
No, you haven’t time traveled back to 1994. You’re looking at a very recent picture of Ace of Base CDs and cassingles that I still own. Present tense, baby. Though not quite as strong as it used to be, this photo is evidence of my undying love for a band that, by and large, most people have forgotten, as well as evidence that I have terrible taste in music. It is also evidence that “pop reggae” was once a thing.
Thousands of years from now when generations far into the future dig up the festering remains of our once great pop culture empire, they will unearth a tattered copy of The Sign, stare deep into the mysterious pink center of its vagina-like album art, and ponder its meaning.
The majority of you reading this probably don’t realize that Ace of Base didn’t stop making albums after The Sign–which, if you remember, was damn near inescapable with its string of worldwide hit singles (including the infectious title song) bombarding the radio and certified nine-time platinum status–but they did.
In fact, the band’s second album The Bridge was released in 1995 and was, in many respects, a far superior album. Says me. You might remember its earworm of a hit single, “Beautiful Life,” but probably not much else unless you were A) a dedicated fan; B) it was one of your “Just Add Two More CDs to Get Free Shipping!” selections from Columbia House; or C) your name is William Bruce West. I recently learned on Twitter that Will is just as much of an Ace of Base fan as I am, calling into question all my previously-held beliefs about black guys. He even knows about “Ravine.” Every reciprocated tweet was like a secret handshake welcoming me into some loser-y club for which I thought I was the only member. However, on the issue of Linn having a better voice than Jenny, well, Will and I will just have to agree to disagree.
This is how much I love Ace of Base: even though I own all of their albums on CD and digitally, I refuse to throw away this cassette tape.
After The Sign, The Swedish pop act went on to record several more albums with completely different names outside the United States where they were ignored–1997′s Cruel Summer which covered the famous Bananarama song, and the long-awaited Da Capo in 2003–before ultimately breaking up in 2009. A year later the band re-formed with two different girls (and yes I own that album too). But like Becky’s replacement on Roseanne, the new girls are prettier but it’s just not the same!
As one of the first pop groups I can remember being really into (some annoyed family members might say to the point of obsession, given they had to endure my endless looping of “Don’t Turn Around”), Ace of Base gave me my first harsh lesson about America’s relationship with pop groups. Namely, how we devour them to the bone, then quickly shit ‘em out and flush. Of course, it didn’t help that Ace of Base’s upbeat, infectious pop infused with love and positivity ran counter to the flannel shirt depression of grunge and alterna-rock that was so popular during their brief period of stardom, when they perfected awesome poses like this one:
Not to mention their endearingly cheesy lyrics, made all the more so given their less than stellar command of the English language. Sweet, naive, thirteen-year-old me was certain that a big Ace of Base comeback was going to happen someday, after everyone realized their genius. Only they never did. By the time I got to high school I learned to keep my AOB love on the down low, outside of a few trusted friends who were privy to all my embarrassing interests, like Sailor Moon. Now that I think about it, this could have easily been a post about Sailor Moon.
But hey! At least it’s not Justin Bieber, AMIRITE? In fact you, you can just copy and paste that last sentence and use it for everything you’re ashamed of.
Before I go, this post would not be complete without one of Ace of Base’s classic, uncomfortable music videos that make no sense. Play me out, you angelic songstresses of Swedish pop!
Experience some of these other pearls.
Wondering what this is all about? This week’s assignment from The League of Extraordinary Bloggers was to share one of our guilty pleasures. I don’t know what can possibly be guiltier than Ace of Base, but let’s find out. Together!
This week The League threw down a red photo challenge. I accepted. I even came up with the word “red-iculous” just for you guys.
I went all through my house to find as many red things as I could, excluding decorations because that shit’s boring and nobody wants to see photos of that. So that left me with a bunch of random red crap I had no idea how to tie together in a blog post, until I got the brilliant (or totally lame–I haven’t decided which yet) idea to do this:
21 Red-iculous, Random Things
(You Might Not Know) About Me
Kiss a little longer with Big Red.
Shit. Why didn’t I think of that commercial before I started this post? Oh well.
I want money, lots and lots of money, so I can buy all this cool stuff at Hake’s!
This week’s assignment from The League was to pretend money is no object and go on a fantasy shopping spree at Hake’s Americana & Collectibles. Part of Baltimore’s famous Geppi’s Entertainment Museum, Hake’s is a huge auction site filled with tons of nostalgic collectibles and pop culture memorabilia, ranging in price from surprisingly reasonable to somebody’s going to have to donate a kidney. Browsing through the hundreds of pages of toys, novelties, comics, pins, posters, autographs and everything in between, I was overwhelmed at how much stuff they have. I spent a good hour or so just clicking through all the links and typing in random searches to see what I could find. Naturally I checked out their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles stuff first, however, I did resist the urge to fill up a blog post with just TMNT collectibles. You should be proud of me.
Anyway, cue the cheesy montage music. It’s time to go shopping!
So, we’re supposed to pretend like we’re buying stuff to decorate our mansions, but if I were filthy rich I’d totally live on a huge yacht like Goldie Hawn in Overboard complete with useless, empty, hair-polishing, toe-polishing rich bitch sun tanning days. Instead of traveling the world collecting fine works of art, I’d fill up my yacht with vintage video games, valuable comics, toys, movie memorabilia, rare Ninja Turtles stuff, and other priceless (to me) treasures from all over. Basically it’d be just like Overboard except I’d own much cooler stuff and my crew would play ’80s music around the clock. And also I wouldn’t be a total bitch.
Here’s what I bought!
I know it’s a lot to take in. Believe me, I had a hard time narrowing it down to just this stuff. Here’s a breakdown of everything I purchased with my pretend monies, and why:
1. ‘Blues Brothers’ Button
The Blues Brothers is one of the best movies of all time. If you disagree, you are wrong. The Blues Brothers were a few years before my time, but I grew up watching the iconic film with my Dad and catching up on those early years of Saturday Night Live (somewhere along the way I also developed a mini-crush on John Belushi which is pretty weird being that he’s a dead guy, and all). This vintage Blues Brothers button predates the 1980 film and depicts Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi in character as Elwood and Jake.
2. Buster Brown Plastic Ring
The mall in my town where I’ve lived for over 30 years used to have a Buster Brown children’s shoe store back in the early 80s, and every time my mom took me there to buy a new pair of shoes, it meant I would get one of these cheap plastic Buster Brown rings. For me, that was the whole point of going because I hated shoes and still do. I think I must have been traumatized by a shoe salesman at an early age or something. I know it’s atypical because I’m a woman and we’re supposed to like shoes, but if I could get away with going barefoot or wearing flip-flops year-round, I would.
3. ‘Star Wars’ Ken Steacy Signed Lithograph
This Star Wars print is so bad ass! Not only do I love the copious amount of hot pink, but the perspective makes Darth Vader look like a giant. Either that or somebody shrunk the Death Star. This Star Wars lithograph is from a limited run of just 50 prints and is signed by artist Ken Steacy.
4. Pair of 6″ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Buttons
You knew there was going to be some Ninja Turtles stuff here, right? These oversize 6″ buttons are the kind that have a pop-out cardboard stand on the back to prop them up. I already have the matching Donatello, Leonardo and Michelangelo versions; I just need Raphael and the group shot with the logo, which are sold together in this TMNT button lot.
5. David Bowie ‘Serious Moonlight’ Tour Pin
This super 80s-tastic David Bowie pin (I seem to have a thing for pins) is from his 1983 Serious Moonlight tour. I was only two years old in 1983, but I love me some David Bowie–especially 80s Bowie (blame Labyrinth!)–and I love this abstract style of art. Thank God for YouTube which is like a time machine where I can watch the whole concert. Lets dance!
6. Jim Henson’s Muppet Watches
I love all things Jim Henson and Muppets, so this Kermit watch with a Rainbow Connection theme caught my eye. It’s part of a larger store display of Muppet watches and clocks from 1982. I really like the simplicity of the artwork and the green color of the band which matches Kermit.
7. Nintendo Power – ‘Final Fantasy’ Crystal Orb Prize
Here’s one of the few video game-related things I could find at Hake’s, but it’s a good one! Back in 1990, Nintendo Power ran Final Fantasy-themed Treasure Contest and second prize was one of fifty custom decorative Final Fantasy crystal orbs with the game’s name and emblem etched into the glass. As a nice bonus, it even comes with a copy of the Nintendo Power issue it was announced in, which is awesome too because the cover is dedicated to Maniac Mansion, one of my favorite NES games.
8. ‘Star Wars: Return of the Jedi’ Roller Skates
I had no idea Star Wars roller skates existed, but now that I do, I must possess them. I guess I really shouldn’t be surprised, since there is Star Wars everything. Another thing I’d own if I were rich is my own private roller rink modeled after a late-80s Skate Land. You’d all be invited to come hang out anytime you want, of course. And if skating in wide circles to The Cars is not your thing, don’t worry–there’ll also be a bitchin’ arcade and pizza parlor.
9. Mechanical Mighty Robot with Spark
I don’t really know anything about this mechanical windup robot toy, except that he seems like a lot of fun and looks totally rad. The description on the website tells me he’s from Japan and was made in the 1960s. Supposedly when you wind him up he walks forward and you can see sparks shooting off inside his chest window. See what I mean? Totally rad.
10. Batman Outfit with Button
Who doesn’t want to be Batman for a day? With this cape, mask, and official “Charter Member Batman & Robin Society” badge, you could be. I just like the silliness of it all, and how the packaging says “TV Cape” instead of Batman. I don’t know what that’s all about, but evidently this Batman outfit only costed 98 cents back in 1966. Being Batman for less than a dollar sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me.
11. X-Men Comic Panel Buttons
You might not know this about me, but for a time in the early 90s I was even more obsessed with X-MEN than I was Ninja Turtles. I have since gone back to Turtles almost exclusively but I still keep up with X-MEN to a loose degree, and still hold on to several long boxes full of comics that document that period of my life. These X-MEN comic panel buttons are from 1986-1987 and feature awesome artwork, including my favorite 80s-era red and brown Wolverine style.
12. ‘Top Gun’ Showtime Button
More buttons! I could probably easily fill up a whole wall of buttons, or at the very least, a whole jean jacket. This one is a Top Gun promo button from 1987 promoting the Showtime network. I don’t really care about that part, I just like it because it’s Top Gun.
13. Miss Piggy Campaign Button
Did you know Miss Piggy ran for president back in 1980? This Miss Piggy for President button was distributed as part of her campaign, along with an appearance in Life magazine. Personally, I would not have voted for Miss Piggy and her feminist agenda, but it’s fun to imagine what the country would be like today if she had won. #Beaker4President, amirite?
14. Walt Disney’s Game Parade Board Game
This vintage 1940′s Disney Game Parade caught my eye because of the box art and interesting design. Supposedly this thing is 15 board games in one, using different boards and playing pieces. But the real reason I like it so much is because Toby Tortoise is represented on the cover. You just don’t see that guy around much. It’s a shame he never became more popular after his Silly Symphony days.
15. Toby Tortoise Toothbrush Holder
Speaking of Toby Tortoise, check out this keen Toby Tortoise toothbrush holder from the 30s, which was back when they said things like “keen.” It makes sense that Toby would store your toothbrush in his shell, you know, because he’s a turtle. Just like how it also makes sense that he’s wearing boxing gloves, because he’s a boxer. In a way, Toby Tortoise is kind of a precursor to the Ninja Turtles. He’s definitely cool enough to warrant more cartoon appearances than the few lousy ones he got. I’m rooting for ya, little buddy.
16. ‘Tales from the Crypt’ Pinball Advertising Button
Though I’m too young to have grown up with the original comics, one of my favorite horror anthology shows was HBO’s Tales from the Crypt. My mom used to let me and my sister stay up late and watch it with her over a shared bowl of popcorn. This Tales from the Crypt button is associated with the pinball machine that was produced in 1993. Sadly, Hake’s doesn’t have the whole pinball machine or I’d buy that, because why not, I’m all rich and stuff now? The Crypt Keeper is definitely someone I’d hang out with on Friday nights. At the very least he deserves credit for my love of terrible puns.
17. ‘Reform School Girls’ Large Promotional Button
This is a large promo button from the 1986 extreme low budget B-movie Reform School Girls. Don’t be surprised if we–and by “we” I mean “I”–end up covering this one over at Cult Film Club.
18. “The Swingers” Beatles-Like Figurines on Card
I had no idea The Shitty Beatles existed outside of Wayne’s World. This set of “The Swingers” plastic figurines is clearly a knock-off of The Beatles. The fact that they’re made in Hong Kong is a dead giveaway. I think knock-off products are hilarious, especially when they have such sexy names.
19. Reagan Satirical 1980s Postcard Lot
Not much to say about these satirical Reagan postcards, except that I find them hilarious because I’m immature. Ronald Reagan + Rambo = RONBO. Ronald Reagan + Ronald McDonald= Ronald McReagan. DO YOU GET IT, GUYS? I just want them for kitsch points, and also because the lot includes a card where Reagan has a giant penis on his head.
20. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Power Rings Set
Okay, I had to sneak one more TMNT item in here. These are a set of eight Ninja Turtles “Power Rings” that came from Nabisco Shreddies (hurr hurr!) cereal in Canada. I like that the Turtles are all making different faces, which is rare for pieces like this; usually they just use the same sculpt and change the mask color. I’m also a little upset there’s no Bebop, but these are just trifles. In no way does that mean I want the whole set any less than I do, which is badly.
21. ‘E.T.’ Jewelry Necklace Lot
I don’t wear a lot of jewelry, if at all. I hardly even own any “nice” jewelry. When I do wear jewelry, I like it cheap and crappy like these goldtone E.T. necklaces, or even the plastic stuff from vending machines. It’s not that I don’t appreciate nice jewelry, it’s just highly impractical for me and I’ve lost more than one nice rock. I’d wear the shit out of these E.T. necklaces, though, which come in four different designs, including my favorite, Transvestite E.T.
22. Disney’s ‘Robin Hood’ Lunch Box
Here’s another fun ShezCrafti fact: my Dad’s name is Robin Hood. No joke. As a result, I’ve always been kind of drawn to Robin Hood-related stuff since my family has always sort of unofficially collected it. This Robin Hood lunch box is a little beat up, but I love Disney’s version of the Robin Hood legend and I like the artwork.
$1,639.oo. Yup, I’m going to have to donate a kidney.
What would you buy from Hake’s if money were no object?
Wondering what this is all about? This week’s assignment from The League of Extraordinary Bloggers was to go on a fantasy shopping spree at Hake’s Americana & Collectibles. I purposely did not look at what my fellow Leaguers posted before putting together my own list, so I can’t wait to take a peek at all the crazy things they bought. Or maybe it’s just me who went crazy?
I’ll update this section with more links & info as everyone finishes the assignment and I actually get a chance to read them.
The first random thing that popped into my head (well, besides Bon Jovi’s “Dead or Alive”) after seeing today’s assignment from The League, was an animated Disney short from 1956 called A Cowboy Needs a Horse. I surprised myself by thinking of it, because this cartoon is one of those things from the obscure, nearly-forgotten minutia of my childhood that I’m constantly rediscovering in weird ways (quite like Questron and the Clue VCR Mystery Game) ever since I started blogging.
A Cowboy Needs a Horse (which you can watch in its entirety on YouTube right here) is about a little boy who goes to sleep one night and dreams of being a cowboy. As he slumbers, an incredibly repetitive song of the same name accompanies his transformation from an ordinary boy into a cowboy complete with a horse, a rope, a song, a hat, a pair of fancy boots, and a set of shiny spurs, which are all “drawn” into the scene. It’s all very Little Nemo-ish and the animation is classic Disney.
Here’s the song. Please don’t hate me after it inevitably gets stuck in your head!
Since I was born in 1981, I’m obviously too young to have remembered this cartoon when it was new. My introduction to it was in the form of a Disney Sing Along Songs VHS tape that I got for Christmas one year–this one, to be precise:
If you’re around my same age, you might remember these things. They were a series of home video tapes that featured a compilation of songs you could sing along to from both animated and live-action Disney movies and shows. Most memorably, kids were encouraged to “Follow the bouncing ball!” which looked like the Mickey symbol and helped you keep time with the lyrics. (And I swear to this day, the insanely catchy intro song from these tapes still gets randomly stuck in my head sometimes.)
This week’s assignment from The League was an interesting one:
If money was not a concern and you could choose any career path, what would be your ultimate dream job?
Well, first of all, there’s a false assumption here that I would want to have this thing called “a job” if I didn’t have to. If money was not a concern, I would happily live out my days playing video games, watching movies, reading books, etc. etc. and get out even less than I do now. That’s right, I would do nothing.
But, if I have to give an answer (and you know how seriously I take these League assignments, so I will), my first inclination would be to say I’d pursue something creative, whether it’s writing a novel or screenplay, directing a film, or rekindling my long-held dream of designing a video game–specifically a point-and-click adventure game just like my personal gaming hero, Jane Jensen.
But my problem, as always, is the fear that once it becomes my job to do these things, I’ll cease being passionate about them. That’s kind of the bitch about creative endeavors. Once things like contracts and money and deadlines and obligations and other people’s opinions are involved, I’m almost positive I will lose interest. I often wonder what amazing films, books and games would exist if the talent behind such works had absolute creative power and unlimited resources. Then again, I look at guys like George Lucas and start to re-think this position.
What’s your ultimate dream job?
Wondering what this is all about? This week’s assignment from The League of Extraordinary Bloggers was to pretend that money was no concern and pursue a career we’re passionate about. Here’s what my fellow Leaguers said:
Thanksgiving may be over, but I’m feeling especially thankful right now, in this moment. In the span of a single month, I survived a hurricane, lost my job AND my car died on the same day (that’s what this post was all about, by the way–thanks to everyone who sent words of support and encouragement my way) only to gain a new job mere weeks later, get my car fully repaired, helped start up a new podcast, made guest appearances on two other awesome podcasts (here & here), and officially joined The Dork Horde. And of course on top of all that, the holiday season is in full swing and my halls are nowhere near finished being decked.
I’ve been insanely busy and the posting quality and frequency around here probably reflects that, but I feel overwhelmingly grateful to not only have been able to turn my situation around, but to have come out of it swinging–and I’m positive it’s all because this blog exists. So, not to get all sappy and stuff, but I want you regular readers, commenters, and toy-pushing enablers to know how much your online camaraderie means to me.
Blah, blah blah–where’s my present?
If you’re in The League, The Dork Horde, a Twitter friend, a Cult Film Club devotee, or just a “fan” of ShezCrafti.com (which feels weird to say), I WANT TO GIVE YOU A GIFT. (That is, if you feel comfortable giving your mailing address to a 31-year-old who loves video games and Ninja Turtles.) It’s not going to be something extravagant, obviously, but it will be something small, cool, geeky, and above all, heartfelt.
So, please send me an email with the subject “Merry Geekmas!” and include your mailing address if you’d like to get on my gift list. I don’t expect anything in return, nor will I be upset if you re-gift what I send you, but you might get some funny looks if you do (there, consider that your hint).
Update 12/17/12 Sorry, the deadline to get on my gift lift has passed!
But you can still send me your address if you’d like this year’s Christmas card.
This week’s League assignment was to “write or photograph something festive and pop culture oriented.” Okay, so I cheated a little bit with the comic scan, but since I’m not done decorating my house yet, there isn’t much else to show right now. BUT! Do check out all the festive & merry things my fellow Leaguers posted:
This week’s “What if…?” assignment from The League might be the most self-indulgent, fanboyish one yet–because honestly, what do fanboys love more than sitting around imagining alternate realities for their most beloved fandoms? In case you haven’t noticed already WE’RE GROWNUPS WHO PLAY WITH TOYS.
As tempted as I was to write a “What if…?” scenario involving the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I decided that between the comics, cartoons and movies their universe is already so friggin’ wacky my “What if Raphael accidentally killed Leonardo in a blinding fit of rage?” idea wouldn’t have been too much of a stretch, which would be missing the whole point of this exercise. (Also I already covered that in my super secret fan-fiction and no you cannot read it.)
Instead I decided to plunder from one of my all-time favorite movies, The Karate Kid.
I chose The Karate Kid specifically because to me it is one of those rare movies that is so ingrained into pop culture (not to mention a permanent fixture of my childhood happy place) that it’s above criticism. As far as I’m concerned, there is not one bad moment in this movie, freeze-frame ending, cheesy dating montage and all. It is PERFECT. Perfect for me to poop on. Sorry, I don’t know where the hell Triumph came from.
I give you:
What if Daniel lost the All Valley Tournament?
Well, obviously we’d never get The Karate Kid Part 2 or Part 3, which is heartbreaking in and of itself, but here’re some other things that would probably happen:
Ali would get back together with Johnny.
We know from Part 2 she broke up with Daniel on prom night, so you know she’s a two-faced bitch anyway.
Mr. Miyagi would take some time to re-evaluate his priorities.
Because he realized he just spent months training some punk kid karate FOR FREE and it was all for nothing.
John Kreese’s stock goes up.
The Cobra Kai Dojo flourishes, enrollment is at an all-time high (as are sales of black gis).
The Cobra Kai vow to remain dudebros for life.
In ten years they will invest in something called “America Online” and become even more disgustingly rich. Dutch, always the loose cannon of the group, will lose his fortune to hookers and blow.
Daniel’s mom finally caves and moves them back home to New Jersey.
Mrs. Larusso begins a slow, downward spiral of shame and resentment and starts drinking heavily after realizing her pussy son caused her to give up her dream so easily.
Daniel gets laid, becomes a man.
Presumably by Judy or one of those other car-chasing sluts. He never mentions his humiliating defeat and resumes whatever social status he originally left behind. I bet you thought this wouldn’t have a happy ending, didn’t you?
Freddy would still wear awesome shirts.
Like the classy one with the ‘Two Pigs Fucking’ motif you see here.
In this alternate Karate Kid world, Johnny is no cream puff!
Wondering what this is all about? This week’s assignment from The League of Extraordinary Bloggers was to write an alternate turn of events for a pop culture storyline. Go read some of their amazing/terrible ideas:
The League is mixing things up yet again this week with a topic that steps outside our regularly scheduled pop culture programming. Go grab yourself a snack or something–I suggest these–and settle in, because this is going to be a long post.
Write a “State of the Site” for your web site. How’s it going? What exciting things have happened this past year? Where do you want your site to be in a year’s time?
I found this topic to be more than a little challenging. This website is me, so quite a bit of my personality and personal history is intertwined with the state of ShezCrafti.com, and it’s never easy to write about yourself. Also, I don’t really have any grandiose plans, ambitions, or visions of world domination for ShezCrafti and therefore it’s difficult for me to look at my site from the perspective of whether or not it’s a success. Hell, I don’t even run any ads here.
As a personal blog, ShezCrafti is simply a place for me to geek out about whatever it is I happen to be geeking out over on any given day–usually that’s video games, terrible movies, TV shows, comics, music, 80′s & 90′s pop culture, and yeah, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I use this site as a way to collect, share and organize all the geeky/stupid/random things I care about as well as a means to “officially” put new things I’m excited about on my radar. Occasionally I’ll have a coherent thought, humorous anecdote, or something insightful to say about whatever it is that I’m sharing and the words I write will resonate with a random visitor and they’ll go out of their way to leave me a comment. I like it when that happens. But as far as success metrics go, you could say I’ve set the bar pretty low.
But before I get into what I’ve been up to lately and how this past year has gone, I’d like to take some time to reflect back on the history of this site and how it came to be–for posterity’s sake, as well as your potential amusement.
Please, please, a moment to reflect.
Creation: The Late ’90s
The mythology of ShezCrafti’s origin is one that is deeply rich and steeped in lore.
Picture it. AOL. 1998. That was the year before I graduated high school, and a time when America Online was the nation’s primary means of accessing the internet. It was also the year the Beastie Boys dropped their bomb-ass album Hello Nasty! on us which I used to listen to non-stop and it contributed heavily to the definitive soundtrack to my senior year.
As I mention on my About page because I do get asked rather frequently what this name means, I was once very obsessed with the Beastie Boys. “She’s Crafty” is my favorite song by them, so that’s what I chose for the all-important, personality-defining AOL screen name that would become legendary among the 312 privileged people on my Buddy List.
And then: TRAGEDY STRUCK. “ShesCrafty” was already taken–by someone whom I suspect is a much less cool and deserving individual–and so I had to spell it retardedly, and thus ShezCrafti was born. That’s my legacy, folks. And as Howie from UnderScoopFire once told me, I own it.
Late Antiquity: 2001 – 2004 (ish)
You may be surprised to learn that ShezCrafti.com actually began life sometime back in 2001 as ShezCrafti.net, a crappy, self-centric personal homepage I was hosting on Yahoo Geocities (lol!) as a way to keep in touch with friends, write blog posts about things probably only 5 other people in the universe cared about, and collect all the stupid, random crap I had stumbled upon on the internet; you know, classic time-wasters like All Your Base and the Hamster Dance. The concept of “blogging” wasn’t nearly as popular back then as it is today, and blogs were generally associated with LiveJournal and similar sites. This was back before social networking had officially become “a thing,” before MySpace and Facebook existed, before Twitter, before “the cloud”, even before WordPress which is the platform making it possible for you to read these very words.
During my college years, the original ShezCrafti site was something of a weird creative outlet, as well as a way for me to practice HTML and learn CSS. But mostly it was an excuse to dick around on the internet while pretending like I was doing something important or something that anyone outside of my close circle of friends gave two shits about.
Through the miracle of The Wayback Machine, I was able to cobble together this screenshot for you:
As you can see, I was going through my crucial anime phase and evidently I preferred a monochromatic color scheme. “Life. Stuff. Whatever.” I was deep. I’ve chosen to blur out some of the stupid things I wrote because reading it ten years later just makes me want to gag. (It’s also a sobering reminder that the things you put on the internet have a tendency to live forever.) I have no idea who I was or what I was thinking when I wrote or shared most of this stuff, and my life today resembles nothing of that girl’s. Hilariously, though, I also discovered that my old Guestbook (remember those things?) is STILL functional. That was worth looking up my 21-year-old internet self for.
The Dark Ages: 2004 – 2007 (ish)
During this period I wasn’t very active online, if at all. For two years the role of ShezCrafti was played by an unhappily married woman whose career was in flux and didn’t have much to offer creatively. This was also around the time she became addicted to World of Warcraft and as is typical of most WoW addicts, the productivity levels for most other aspects of her life reached an all-time low. I completely let ShezCrafti.net go and eventually Yahoo took it down. The *crickets* were deafening.
The Renaissance: 2008 – 2011 (ish)
After going through a divorce, landing an awesome new job, and living on my own for the first time, I began to get back in touch with myself and sort of re-discover all the things I was once interested in that I had been missing. My creative muse returned and I started doing freelance web design & development work on the side not because I needed to, but because it was something I’m genuinely interested in. After building several sites and WordPress blogs for other people, I thought, hey, why not do this for myself? I had gotten the itch to start doing something creative again, but I wasn’t sure what. I was inspired by pop culture sites like X-Entertainment and The Surfing Pizza, but I didn’t necessarily want or have the motivation to write a collection of lengthy, nostalgic personal essays, as much as I enjoyed reading theirs. I also wanted to write about video games in some capacity, since I am a gamer and do play them quite a bit and make an effort to keep up with all the latest gaming news. I just knew I wanted to do something, anything.
And so it was that I launched ShezCrafti.com in November of 2008, not really knowing what the hell I was doing or what I was getting myself into. This was my first post. In it, I attempt to explain why I started this site and what readers could expect from me, not that I had any idea what that would be at the time this was written. There’s also a great picture of 5-year-old me petting a goat. (Yeah, I don’t know either.)
Although this website in its current form has been around since 2008, it wasn’t until February/March of this year that I began blogging with any sort of regularity. After getting a third notice that my domain was up for renewal, I made it a New Year’s resolution of mine to get back in the habit of posting regularly with the goal of transforming this site into something that was valuable to me; otherwise I didn’t see the point of keeping it around. That’s when I switched gears and established the following “rules” for ShezCrafti:
Write only about the things I genuinely care about and feel like writing about. No other obligations need apply.
Not every post has to be a masterpiece or even well-written, though I do try. This saves me from getting too hung up on the impossibly high standards I sometimes set for myself. (Believe it or not, I do have standards sometimes, you guys.)
Above all, I have to be having fun.
So far these rules seem to be working out, and it’s been very freeing to abandon formalities and simply blog for myself and not worry too much about what anyone else thinks. Following this path has led me to meeting some awesome new internet friends and other bloggers with whom I have a lot in common, even if there’s thousands of physical miles between us.
The biggest step forward for ShezCrafti, however, was joining The League of Extraordinary Bloggers back in June, which is headed up by the super awesome Brian of Cool and Collected. I had stumbled upon a couple of League-related posts over at Branded In The 80s and Flashlights Are Something To Eat and knew right away I wanted to be a part of this crazy crew. I mean how could I NOT want to participate in group blogging topics like “When I Was 12″, “Kurt Russell is Awesome” and “Why 1984 is Possibly the Greatest Year in Pop Culture History”? I don’t mean to brag, but I’m an expert on those topics.
Since joining The League I’ve met and connected with even more amazing bloggers, and have even come out of my shell a little bit to participate in a few podcasts, write guest posts, and in general join in all the geeky pop culture camaraderie that seems to surround The League. I look forward every day to reading and commenting on all of the great things they post. I originally planned to give a shout-out to a few of my favorite fellow Leaguers in this paragraph, but as I started making the list it quickly spiraled out of control. There’s just too many awesome sites and people in The League, and there’s no way I could give them the individual level of praise and attention they deserve, so I’ll just leave this here as it applies to all of you:
I have no idea where ShezCrafti will be even in a year’s time, and I won’t pretend like I have lofty goals or ambitions for this site beyond just having a nerdy corner of the internet to call home and connecting with like-minded bloggers. And for right now, I’m 100% OK with that.
What state are you in?
Wondering what this is all about? This week The League was tasked with writing a “State of the Site” address for our websites. Here’s what some of my fellow Leaguers had to say:
Remember back when Adam Sandler was funny? Remember when we used to laugh at all his obnoxious voices and stupid faces? Remember that one time on Weekend Update when he spouted off a bunch of silly ideas for costumes you can make for free using stuff you’ve got lying around the house? Is this a cop-out for almost missing this week’s assignment from The League? Yup.
I had a much better post planned, but it involved me going over to my parents house to dig through boxes of old photos to show you some of the musty hand-me-downs and hideous fabric shame-fests my mom hand-sewed and forced me to wear over the years, but I ran out of time, and trust me, you’re much better off without me recounting those miserable experiences. The thing is, I’ve never been big on costumes. Not only do I not enjoy getting dressed up in any capacity or putting makeup on my face, I don’t like calling attention to myself. Candy was always my number one priority every Halloween, and as far as I was concerned, putting on a costume to go out and get it was just a formality.
On top of that, my parents refused to splurge on any kind of decent store-bought costume for me, rationalizing this obviously poor parenting decision as being thrifty because, and I quote, “why spend a lot of money for something you’ll only wear once?” And so, my Halloween costumes throughout the years have ranged from mild disappointments to total failures, and eventually I stopped caring altogether and gladly put in the least amount of thought and effort as possible.
In that respect, the above clip I posted is a perfect summation of my feelings about Halloween costumes. JUST GIMME SOME DAMN CANDY!
But just to humor you guys and get my check plus from the teacher for doing the work, here are my responses to the actual questions we were asked this week:
1. What was the most legendary costume you ever wore?
A witch. The “legendary” part is that I wore it to junior high for Halloween Spirit Day on the WRONG GODDAMN DAY. I was the only one in the entire school dressed up, and yes, it was mortifying.
2. What would you dress up as this year?
Crazy Newspaper Unicorn Man
And what are you supposed to be?
Wondering what this is all about? This week The League of Extraordinary Bloggers was tasked with describing the best costume we ever wore, and what we would dress up as this year. Here’s a couple of my favorite responses from fellow Leaguers who put much more thought and effort into this assignment than I did!
Spending eight hours in a cramped car driving back from vacation is not my idea of a fun day. I woke up this morning to a sunny, perfect beach day in Murell’s Inlet, South Carolina and had to tear myself away to get on the road early, if I had any hope of getting home at a decent hour. Long road trips home after vacation are the worst, especially when you’re leaving behind beautiful weather. All you can think about is how short it was, and stress about all the crap you have to do when you get home. By the time I reached Baltimore, I was in a pretty suck-tastic mood.
When I finally got home, there were a bunch of packages on my doorstep. Looking a little closer, I saw they were all from members of The League which put an instant smile on my face and made me forget how tired and cranky I was. I wasted no time tearing into them.
Package #1, from Tupa’s Treasures
The first package was a big box full of awesome retro stuff from Christopher Tupa, the talented artist and blogger behind Tupa’s Treasures. Chris sent me an intriguing email a week or so ago saying he found “something I might like” that he wanted to send me.
Well Chris, you have definitely done that and then some! In fact, I’m having trouble figuring out what the original “something” is, as pretty much everything in this package is a treasure. Here’s what was inside:
Six Guns and Shurikens, a TMNT paperback book from 1990. This took me back to 5th grade right away. I used to have this book, along with a few other TMNT paperbacks that I ordered from my elementary school’s book fair once upon a time. Flipping through the pages was like recovering a lost relic from my past.
TMNT Thermos with my favorite Turtle, Raphael on the front! I saw this posted on Chris’s blog a few weeks ago, which he scored for a quarter at a yard sale.
Invasion of the Punk Frogs, a VHS of episode 13 from Season 2 of the original 1987 TMNT cartoon. I can’t even imagine how much shelf space you’d need to collect the entire 80′s TMNT cartoon on single-episode VHS tapes.
TMNT toy bike; I’m actually not sure which TMNT toy line the bike is from, but it totally fits my new Nickelodeon Turtles figures. Does anyone out there know?
New Kids on the Block paperback book — another relic from my past! I never had this book, but my friend/frenemy across the street did. She was obsessed with NKOTB and we used to get into stupid fights about what was cooler: TMNT or NKOTB. Obviously I was the one who was correct.
The Last Starfighter movie novel. I had no idea a novelization of that movie existed until I saw this thing on Chris’s blog. It’s one of my favorite cheesy 80′s sci-fi movies and I can’t wait to read it.
A stack of Garbage Pail Kids stickers. Yes! I don’t have that many GPKs anymore but would love to start collecting again. These are a nice head start.
My favorite item, however, is this watercolor of Raphael that Chris drew and painted himself:
I love Chris’s cartoony, colorful style which I fell in love with when I saw the super-cute Pop Culture Road Trip souvenir map he designed for The League. I’d love to see what a whole group shot of the TMNT would look like. (Do you take commissions, Chris??)
He also included this adorable little printed art booklet called “Ode to Spring” which is literally too cute for words:
Chris, you have completely overwhelmed me with how much awesome you packed into this box. I don’t know what I did to deserve such a nice surprise in the mail, but thank you, thank you, thank you! This made my day.
Package #2, from Top Hat Sasquatch
Moving on to the soft, squishy package I got from Tommy Day of Top Hat Sasquatch, I knew right away it must have been the kickass THS t-shirt I ordered.
Featuring original Alex Deligiannis artwork of the sophisticated ‘Squatch himself, its high brow design makes it appropriate for all occasions when an extra touch of class is needed–weddings, black tie events, job interviews, state dinners…
As an added bonus, there were 8-bit THS stickers, buttons, and a TMNT goodie bag full of retro trading cards! The Turtles lunch bag was a nice touch and really brought back some memories; I probably haven’t seen one of those things in over twenty years! My Dad used to pack all my lunches in them, and would write funny things inside of drawn-on speech bubbles.
I can’t wait to wear the shirt to work and answer the inevitable questions people will ask about it. (“Why yes, that is a fancy sasquatch in a top hat blowing bubbles from a pipe!”) Thank you, Tommy, for the wearable work of art and conversation starter!
Package #3, from Branded in the 80s
Last but not least, I received this personal mixtape (err…mix CD?) from Shawn Robare of Branded in the 80s. (To be honest, this has probably been chilling in my mailbox for a week or more, but I didn’t open it until today. Even when I’m not on vacation, I’m lazy about checking the mail.)
This disc is the physical manifestation of a recent League assignment–to create our own personal high school mixtape–which Shawn opted to give away for free to anyone who wanted a copy (analog piracy!) because he’s old school like that.
It’s an eclectic mix of all the songs Shawn was jamming to back in the early ’90s, and includes Ween, Weezer, The Rentals, Weird Al, and even some tracks from the animated Transformers and X-Men movies. My favorite track on it, however, is “Girlfriend” by Matthew Sweet. I’ll never forget the first time I saw that music video and thought how cool it was to have Japanese animation in it.
Shawn, thank you for going the extra mile (as you always do!) and taking the time to mix, burn, and mail these CDs out. I really enjoyed your “liner notes” and it was fun taking an audible journey into your past. One of the best ways to get to know someone is through their music, and your high school mixtape just confirms what I already suspected: you were one of the cool kids.
Yes, I’m still on vacation. But how could I pass up a League topic like this?
“Who would you take in an 80′s character fantasy draft? Your team’s goal will be to defeat a shady conglomerate of Russian businessmen and their team of hired ninjas. It’s go time.”
Task Force Role:
The Wise Leader
Extraordinary martial arts skill passed down from generations of Miyagi-Do karate teachings
Decorated World War II veteran, awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery
Deep philosophical knowledge of life
Zen-like patience and sharp reflexes (presumably from years of trying to catch flies with chopsticks)
Respected sensei who gives karate lessons disguised as household chores
Mystical healing powers
Car restoration expert
On top of everything else, he’s a hell of a gardener and makes a fabulous cup of tea.
Seriously, is there anything Mr. Miyagi can’t do? He leads Ninja Force Five with poise and grace, usually dispensing wisdom and training from the sidelines, but doesn’t hesitate to jump into the fray and kick serious ass when needed. Bad guys, take note: don’t underestimate Mr. Miyagi–he’ll fuck your shit up.
Richard “Data” Wang
Task Force Role:
Special Combat, Technical Expert
Inventing weapons, armor and spy tools from common household objects
Setting “booty” traps
Fluent in Chinese (Needs work: English)
As the tinkerer and inventor of the group, Data supplies all of the team’s weapons, armor and spy gear. Sure, they’re not exactly what you’d call “high tech,” and they don’t always work, but they get the job done. His loose grip on the English language is often an unintentional advantage to Ninja Force Five in combat, as the bad guys are momentarily confused trying to figure out whatever the fuck he just said.
Sho’nuff, The Shogun of Harlem
Task Force Role:
Kung Fu Warrior
Being the meanest
Being the prettiest
Being the baddest mofo low down around this town
Though highly skilled in Kung Fu, Sho’nuff is one crazy motherfucker and often flies off the handle. But he’s constantly surrounded by a posse of hot bitches, so Ninja Force Five keeps him around.
Raphael, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle
Task Force Role:
Ninja Warrior, Comic Relief
Impenetrable shell armor
He’s the only member of the team who can break the fourth wall
Plus, he’s a master of disguise
As the only actual ninja in Ninja Force Five, Raphael is the go-to guy for all of the team’s ninja-related training and knowledge, a role for which he gladly steps up as it makes him feel important and needed (something he struggles with back home, living in Leonardo’s shadow). Expertly skilled with the sai, his close-up combat is brutal and his distance, thrown attacks are deadly accurate. When he’s not shoveling down pizza, he dispenses both ass-kicking and wisecracks with style and sarcastic humor.
“Handsome” John Pruitt
Task Force Role:
Vehicle Driver, Backup
Commercial truck driver
CB radio operator
Vehicle repair and maintenance
Handy with a gun
Hand-to-hook close combat
Decades of hardened highway wisdom
Don’t be fooled by the hook–he may be a rough and tough highwayman, but he’s got a heart of gold (so long as his wife isn’t sleeping with “that bastard” again). Pruitt transports Ninja Force Five around inconspicuously in his big rig truck, which Data has tricked out with Ninja-fighting technology. Though a humble truck driver/sometimes-mechanic, Pruitt knows how to handle himself when shit gets real. He’s been known to swoop in and save the day when you least expect it.
The League Loves Ninjas!
Wondering what this is all about? This week The League of Extraordinary Bloggers was tasked with assembling a team of 80′s heroes to fight an evil Russian conglomerate and their ninja assassins. Who did they pick?
This week everyone in The League is making a high school mixtape! We were asked, “what songs were forever being looped on your car’s stereo back in high school?” Thankfully Brian, our fearless leader, had the good sense to put a limit of 12 songs on it, otherwise this post could have easily turned into a black hole of every embarrassing music phase I ever went through in high school, in which you’d hear all about my short-lived ICP fandom (yes, in 10th grade ShezCrafti was down with the clown), my Ace of Base obsession, and every Jock Jams and MTV Party to Go album I ever owned. I will spare you that fate.
Instead, I’d like to dedicate this mixtape to my graduating class. Hope you’ve prepared for Y2K and are ready to get jiggy wit it, because in this post I’m literally going to party like it’s 1999.
But first, come with me on a little journey back in time…
ShezCrafti: The High School Years
Can you spot me in this group of 99′ers?
1999 was the year I graduated from Fallston High School. By senior year, I just wanted to get the hell out of high school and was doing the absolute bare minimum to slide by. It’s not that I didn’t like school, I just felt I wasn’t learning anything of real importance and I was eager for my life to start. I was also supremely lazy and often went to school in pajamas and flip-flops. I think I cleaned up pretty well for my senior yearbook picture, though:
And this was my senior quote:
“A toll is a toll. And a roll is a roll. If we don’t get no tolls, then we don’t eat no rolls.”
As you can see, I took my future very seriously.
Speaking of the future…
Cassette tapes were already long-since obsolete and pretty unpopular in 1999, thanks to CDs and the relatively new (at the time) MP3 format. I, however, drove a red 1991 Plymouth Laser, a hand-me-down from my mom, which only had a cassette player.
If I wanted to play CDs in my car, I had to give shotgun to my Sony Discman and hook it up to my car stereo with one of these things:
So uncool. Not to mention the discs would skip unless I drove like a grandma and obeyed all posted speed limits (yeah right). So despite the advancements in technology toward the end of the last millennium, I was still rocking mixtapes on my car stereo in 1999. LIKE A BOSS.
The Class of ’99 Mixtape
As one of the youngest members of The League, the music on my mixtape will probably be the most current. My process for putting this together was a bit like graduation itself: bittersweet. From my worry-free days of napping in art class and underage drinking, to the more serious milestones like prom and Senior trip when it began to sink in that it was all coming to an end, there are songs that remind me of the good times, there are songs that remind me of the better times, to borrow a few lyrics from Chumbawumba.
When I look back at my high school days, particularly the year I graduated, these are the tunes that stand out the most:
“1999″ – Prince
In 1999 you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing this song, especially if you were a Senior at my high school. Naturally it was the de facto theme song for pretty much every Class of ’99 related event. It’s as if Prince future-proofed his own music when he penned this song in 1983. “They’ll forget all about this album for a few years,” I imagine The Purple One saying to his posse, “but just you wait until the year 1999 rolls around and it will rule the airwaves again eheeheeheeheeheehee!”
I couldn’t very well make a personal mixtape about my high school days without paying homage to The Beastie Boys, to whom I owe this blog’s namesake. They’re one of my favorite groups, and when Hello Nasty dropped in 1998 it completely rocked my world. I remember hearing “Intergalactic” at every major school sporting event, at every dance, blasting out of everyone’s cars on the way home from school, but most of all, blaring from the ghetto blaster in my bedroom.
My life has had a lot of strange parallels with Britney’s. We were both born in 1981, we both have (natural) brown hair and brown eyes, we both got married in 2004, we both filed for divorce in 2006, and are both international superstars–oh wait. When this song–Britney’s first #1 single–came out in 1999 it was HUGE, and I’m not ashamed to admit I played the shit out of it.
If there was ever a song I would call “my jam,” this is it. This is the song that made all the teachers and chaperons uncomfortable at our school dances. I can’t really blame them with lyrics like, “I wonder if she can tell I’m hard right now?” It is the ultimate sexed-up, slow-grindin’ dirty dancing song. Whoever danced with me to this song was probably going to get some that night.
Though recorded in 1993, thanks to those damn SNL skits and The Night at the Roxbury, this was another song that was EVERYWHERE in my junior and senior days of high school. And just like Austin Powers, everyone thought it was hilarious to imitate these guys at every opportunity. (It wasn’t.) I do love the song, though.
I’m closing out Side A with an upbeat tune that was one of the most popular songs of the 90′s and also featured prominently at the end of American Pie, the definitive high school movie of my generation, which also happens to be about the Class of ’99. The song may be about drugs, but the chorus is vague and relatable enough to have turned this song into the “good times” anthem that it was. “I want something else, to get me through this semi-charmed kinda life, baby.” Don’t we all?
After this one major hit, the band broke up in 1999.
“With or Without You” – U2
This was our Senior prom theme, and every time I hear it I’m transported right back to that night. The song is a pretty heavy one about the pain of loving someone so much you can’t live with or without them…or something. Either way, it didn’t really apply to my boyfriend at the time, but we still had an amazing time at prom.
As a big 2Pac fan in the 90s, the rapper’s “death” was one of the first celebrity deaths that really affected me. (I put it in quotes because whether you’re a believer or not, it’s fun to perpetuate the 2Pac is still alive rumors, which is by far my favorite conspiracy theory.) Anyway, the remix of his song “Changes” was released at the start of my senior year and it’s like a perfect time capsule of all the world’s problems at the time. If only 2Pac were “alive” today, he’d have lived to see the first black president of the United States, an unrealistic possibility he raps about in the song.
Destined to become a graduation anthem for years to come, Vitamin C unleashed this cryfest of a song on the world in 1999. It was the soundtrack to countless photo memory slideshows and yearbook signings during my senior year.
Funfact: Vitamin C, whose real name is Coleen Fitzpatrick, plays the role of megabitch Amber, opposite Ricki Lake in John Waters’ cult classic, Hairspray.
This song came out toward the end of 1997 and seemed to mirror a lot of the things I was feeling at the time. It perfectly captures the uncertainty and anxiety we all feel when our lives are at a major turning point, not knowing what lay ahead and hoping we’ve made the right choices.
Instead you’re getting my big gay Masters of the Universe cheesefest and you are going to like it, dammit. The original 1987 film was spectacularly awful, which of course means I loved it. (That’s why I’m allowed to make fun of it, ok? It comes from the heart.)
In all seriousness, though, MOTU fans have gotten the shit end of the stick for a long time. I’m excited by all the recent buzz about the upcoming real reboot, even if it’s still in the early stages. But I’ll leave the serious stuff to Hollywood and you obsessive fanboys instead of cluttering up the Internet with yet another He-Man dream cast list, which Google tells me it already has thousands of results for.
So, without further ado…
There aren’t many actors as built, blonde and dumb as Dolph Lundgren. And Matthew McConaughey is already comfortable with semi-nakedness and skimpy leather costumes. BY THE POWER OF GRAYSKULL, BRA!
I’m definitely not the only one out there who wants this to happen. But at 69 years old, I’ll have to cast zombie Christopher Walken if this reboot doesn’t happen soon.
In the meantime, here’s a fun bonus activity: read these Skeletor quotes aloud to your friends in your best Christopher Walken voice!
I swear it didn’t occur to me that “Teela” and “Mila” rhyme until afterward. But now that it has, I feel even better about my casting choice.
Part of Me 3D qualifies Katy Perry as an actress, right? I hope so because THE RESEMBLANCE IS UNCANNY!
Oh, I guess her looks are kind of similar, too.
You can put Will Ferrell in every movie as far as I’m concerned.
In my Masters of the Universe universe, Gwildor is a mostly silent, inconsequential fixture of the background who only rarely interjects with his bizarre antics that are awkward for all involved. Galifianakis would be perfect, and the resemblance isn’t that far off.
I wanted to cast someone for Orko, but I suppose that wouldn’t have been fair since he wasn’t in the original and we got Gwildor’s furry ass instead. Sorry, little buddy.
Sorceress of Grayskull
No commentary necessary here, folks.
There you have it.
My “Masterpiece” of the Universe. Would you watch it? I mean, where else are you going to see all of these weirdos in the same film?
Where’s [insert missing MOTU character here]?
Oh, you mean like Julie (Courtney Cox), Kevin (Robert Duncan McNeill), Saurod, Blade, and Karg? I got tired of Photoshopping and they’re not important anyway, so fuck ‘em.
Other Dream Movie Reboots from The League
Wondering what this is all about? This week’s assignment from The League of Extraordinary Bloggers was to remake one of our favorite movies with a cast of current Hollywood stars. Would you watch remakes of these movies?
Fact: The Neverending Story is suicide-inducing depression fuel disguised as a children’s movie.
Here is but an abridged overview of the suffering contained within: bullying, coping with the loss of your dead mother, child psychologist-concerning levels of insecurity, asshole adults, unsympathetic giant turtles, wolf-like beasts that feed on children, and of course, the simple matter of the end of the world.
But there is one scene in particular that out-depresses all the others and never fails to reduce me to a pathetic, sniffling mess:
When Artax Dies in the Swamp of Sadness
It’s one thing to lose your beloved horse. It’s another thing to watch him slowly sink to his inevitable death while you have no choice but to stand there and watch it happen. But it’s on another level of PLEASE GOD JUST KILL ME NOW all together to have this happen in a place called “The Swamp of Sadness.” And that music—oh God, that music.
Over twenty years later, it still gets to me. Here’s the scene, if you don’t mind having your day ruined:
I mean come on, that is some traumatizing shit to see as a child.
Thank goodness we had the shiny, happy Neverending Story theme song by the always hair-fashionable, openly-gay Limhal to lighten things up (which I recently learned sounds pretty fantastic on a ZX Spectrum, by the way), otherwise I might have attempted to off myself with Pop-Rocks and Pepsi at an early age.
Other Lacrimal Fluid-Generating Posts from The League
Wondering what this is all about? This week’s assignment from The League of Extraordinary Bloggers was to write about the things that make us cry–what movie, TV show, book, etc. turns you into a blubbering baby every time you see it? Here’s a round-up of what they said:
One day, hundreds of years from now, when my generation of cynical, religionless assholes have given birth to whole new generations of cynical, religionless assholes, this will be America’s new national anthem:
You know, America may not be a perfect country. We have an ongoing debt crisis, failing education, racism, sexism, any type of “ism” you can think of, really, and a broken political system that polarizes every issue. We’re a nation of entitled, self-righteous, hypocritical, fat slobs who value things like Tim Tebow and the iPad over real solutions to our own problems.
But you know something? I wouldn’t live anywhere else. Whether I lean left, right, or choose not to give a shit, I’m thankful I live in a country that lets me do it. And if you don’t like the way things are, you can always move to another state.
Finally, because there’s nothing more patriotic than a large-breasted blonde prancing around in a bikini to Dixie, and because I’ve been wanting an excuse to post this clip anyway, here’s 60 seconds of Bridget Fonda doing exactly that:
Wondering what this is all about? This week’s assignment from The League of Extraordinary Bloggers was to write about Patriotic Pop Culture–what are the things that make us want to stand up and salute Old Glory? Here’s a round-up of what they said:
Kurt Russell: great actor or the greatest actor? That’s the question posed to The League of Extraordinary Bloggers this week. Well, okay, to be honest I just made up that question. But we really are supposed to write about Kurt Russell, even if you’re not a big Kurt Russell fan or think he sucks–in which case you would, of course, be wrong.
Kurt Russell is one of those versatile actors who can play practically any role. The guy can do (and has done) everything from badass action movies (Tombstone, Big Trouble in Little China) to comedy (Captain Ron, Tango & Cash). Like Golden Corral, he’s got something for everyone. But I won’t drone on about how awesome (even if awesomely bad) Kurt Russell’s movies are because I’m unfashionably late to this week’s League topic due to being on vacation in Myrtle Beach and everyone else has already beaten me to it.
So, in keeping with my running theme of beach and ocean-themed posts this week, what I’d like to do instead is write about one of my personal favorite Kurt Russell movies, Overboard.
For those who have never seen it, it’s easy to dismiss Overboard as cheesy romantic comedy, which it is, complete with a Randy Newman song. But look a little closer and you’ll find a movie that’s hilarious on so many levels–and not just because it’s a reminder of everything embarrassing from the ’80s like frizzy perms, Pee-wee Herman, and brick-sized cordless phones. It’s got an absurd plot, a northwest small-town setting quirkier than Twin Peaks, and ridiculous but lovable characters who deliver extremely quote-able lines like:
“Sorry, Annie. I got horny.”
“Stop staring at me. Eat your checkers.”
“Inga, you don’t shove the food down Shiitake’s throat, you place it on her tongue. Don’t they have dogs in Sweden?”
“We say ‘Foca!’ ‘Foca’ means ‘seal’ in Portuguese.”
“Tofuti… Tofuti where are you when I need you? Tofuti Klein-dein-dein-dein-dein…”
Or am I the only one who quotes this movie incessantly? Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself here…
In Overboard, Kurt Russell stars as Dean Proffitt, a lowly, down-on-his-luck carpenter who’s also the single dad of four boys. One day a luxury yacht makes an emergency repair stop in the small, redneck town of Elk Cove, Oregon, and it’s mega-rich, superbitch owner Joanna Stayton (Goldie Hawn) hires Dean to remodel her closet on a whim. When he doesn’t do the job to her satisfaction, she stiffs him on the payment and pushes him overboard, along with all his tools.
Later that night, as the yacht leaves the harbor, Joanna tries to retrieve her lost wedding ring from the deck but accidentally falls overboard. She washes up on the Elk Cove garbage scow with a serious case of amnesia–and since this is the most exciting thing happening in Elk Cove, it makes the local news. Dean Proffitt doesn’t waste any time taking advantage of the situation. In an attempt to get even with Joanna, he shows up at the local hospital to claim her as his wife so he can bring her home and make her work off what she owes him. (Like I said, it’s ridiculous.*)
And because this is the ’80s and anything goes in these movies, they obviously end up falling in love. Even after Kurt Russell delivers an epic insult right to Goldie Hawn’s face:
Kurt Russell’s Guide to Bagging Mega-Rich Women with Amnesia
Step 1: First, get a good, hard look at her ass while helping yourself to all the fancy food in her refrigerator (to make sure she’s worth the effort). Come up with a highly convincing fictional life history. Acceptable embellishments include terrible maiden names like “Goulahee,” having grown up in a nuclear waste dump, and hanging out at Hank’s Donut World. Bring her home in the back of your dirty pickup truck (but it’s OK for your dogs to ride shotgun).
Step 2: Learn Photoshop (or ask a friend with Photoshop skillz–preferably interrupting him while he’s getting laid) so you can counterfeit some wedding photos to make her believe she deserves her shitty life in which you’ve prepared for her a list of household chores as long as Edward Herrmann’s face and stolen all her ideas for your hillbilly miniature golf course. And make that bitch sleep on the couch!
Step 3: ?????
Step 4: PROFIT!!! Mrs. Annie Proffitt, that is. Hurr hurr.
How does Overboard only have a 6.4 rating on IMDB? Come on, The Internet, this movie deserves at least a 6.5.