Pinball Anyone?

I was reading Pat Henzy’s 365 Days of Illustration blog a bit ago.  The post of the day regarded pinball.  Pinball!  I loved pinball in the 80’s.  Arcades were huge in the 80’s. One arcade I remember most of all was in the back of the Roosevelt Mall in Northeast Philly, PA.  It was called Champions.

So, as I sat here relaxing after a November NaNo fest… I was reading blogs and I told you already where the post idea came from.

There was a pinball game I absolutely loved.  I am sure most people of the 80’s pinball era loved it as well.

The game called HIGH SPEED.

The first time I ever played the game of HIGH SPEED was at the lottery store down the street from where I lived (the cool thing about living in the city – easy access to arcades and candy stores!).  This lottery store is where I honed my pinball skills, drank carton iced tea with a straw and started hanging with boys that were older than me (a little too old!).

The goal of the game was to rack up points of course.. but the one thing we all loved the most and were envied for and envious of was…. when we got that red siren at the top to go off.  That was when hell broke loose and two or three more balls would shoot out and we had to keep ’em going for as long as we could.

Looking back, the best part of the era was the friendly competition between us kids and just the hanging out, really.

Did you have any favorite arcade/pinball games as a kid?


Mötley Crüe/Poison/Dolls

I have loved Mötley Crüe since I first discovered them in 1986 when I bought the “Shout at the Devil” cassette tape solely based on the album cover and name.  I had no idea who they were and no idea that they would change my world of music forever.

Poison was awesome when they stepped into the limelight in 1986 with their debut album Look What the Cat Dragged In.  The radio hit off of the album was “Talk Dirty to Me.”

Don't Need Nothing.. But A Good Time!

I went to see these two bands perform live at the Susquehanna Bank center in Camden on July 16, 2011.  Now, I saw Mötley Crüe before, but never Poison.

Neither band disappointed.

Before I go any further, I think it is fair to mention that the New York Dolls were the opening band, but my friends wanted to tailgate in the parking lot, so we missed them.  I heard they were great though.  My pal Katie was upset that she missed The Dolls… we were hanging in the parking lot and taking pictures.  Katie took two pictures of me in front of Nikki Sixx’s Sixx Sense tour bus.

Brett Michaels sounded awesome as he hopped around on stage belting out lyrics to “Fallen Angel” and “Ride the Wind”.  The band also did “Something to Believe In” and the very popular “Unskinny Bop.”  My friend Katie hates that song!  But she managed through it.  They did “Nothing but a Good Time” which I still seem to know every word to, surprisingly!

Ooh, and they did “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” – a total classic 80’s ballad!  Lighters unite!  Well, these days it is cell phones… but I saw a few people getting old school with lighters, and yes, I was one of the old schoolers!

Poison wrapped it up.  I was definitely impressed with their performance.  Could Mötley Crüe really top them?

They could… and they would.

They opened with Kings of Los Angeles, which we missed.  Grr.  Katie, was upset.  Again.  Poor gal.

They played a bunch of other spectacular songs like “Shout at the Devil” and then…

Tommy Lee did an amazing drum feat.  There was a giant ring at the back of the stage that Lee’s drum kit seemed to be centered in.  Well, all of a sudden there is a light show of sorts on the back drop behind the drum kit and them Lee’s drum kit starts swinging from side to side.  Wicked!  As if that wasn’t spectacular in itself, the damn thing starts spinning and then stops upside down!!

Then they called this guy upon the stage to go on the drum kit with Tommy.  I thought that Tommy just picked a random dude named Tony, turns out the guy won the contest on WMMR.


There were fireworks and I have to say the weather was so perfect.  It was definitely worth the traffic and the $20.00 parking!

Let The Light Shine!

In the end, Mötley Crüe rocked so hard they blew the sound system.  My guess is that they didn’t do an encore for that reason.

Oh!  One of the best parts!  Katie took a picture of me in front of the Sixx Sense tour bus (Nikki’s Sixx’s bus) and I must say, I looked pretty alright.   We got inside and saw an email address to send fan photos too, and Katie did just that.

Oh yeah.. me and the Sixx Machine!

While the band played “Home Sweet Home”  they flashed the photos up on the screen in the back I was one of the fans!

A truly epic evening.

Let’s Go To The Movies!

As an American, I love movies.  Most of us do.  I love all kinds.  The ones that I always have to watch at least a piece of are 80’s flicks.  If I asked you to name the first three 80’s movies that pop in your head, what would they be?

Mine are:

The Breakfast Club – 1985

Classic!  This film depicts every single emotion any teenager ever felt in the 80’s.  Heck, I am sure teenagers feel the same way today, it is just a different time.

There was the princess played by Molly Ringwald.  Snotty and self-righteous, she was either the girl we loved to hate or the girl we hated to love.  She felt insecure.

There was the jock played by Emilio Estevez.  He was the muscle headed dim wit who played football because he felt there was nothing else he was good at.  He felt stupid.

There was the geek played by Anthony Michael Hall.  Hall pulled off the nerdy know-it-all well and we rooted for him.  He felt alone.

There was the bad boy.  A wise cracking bully, he picked apart everyone in the room that day, but when it came down to it, he felt saddest inside.

There was the misfit played by Ally Sheedy.  Man, was she an oddball.  I identified with this character most of all.  Shy and well, just flat out weird she barely talked through the whole movie.  Who would eat a pixie stick and potato chip sandwich?

And we can’t forget the bully played by Judd Nelson, who captured the essence of bullies then and now.

When I watch it today, I still feel that giddy teenager feeling, but I watch it with seasoned eyes.  See, I didn’t get the whole character association thing until some twenty years later.  I just thought it was an awesome movie.

The Karate Kid – 1984

Romantic!  Here’s a kid, who doesn’t know crap about karate, but is tired of getting bullied at school.  Impulsive Daniel Larusso, played by Ralph Macchio, hooks up with Mr. Miyagi, a patient handyman and is taught the ropes of self-defense.  Of course, Daniel gets his ass kicked but it all works out in the end.  Elisabeth Shue plays Ali Mills, his love interest.

What can The Karate Kid teach us about ourselves?  Well, when I took a bus to the Orleans Theatre in Northeast Philadelphia with my friend Tina to see this movie, I didn’t learn anything.  I watched a great movie starring one of my favorite Brat Pack actors.  I walked out feeling happy as I ended it on a double chocolate brownie ice cream cone from Baskin Robbins.

Today, in the wake of so much bullying in society, I look back and see that there was a message in that movie and that message was:  don’t think the little guy can’t beat you.

Red Dawn – 1984

I first watched this movie on VHS tape.  I remember walking down to Watkins, a little video store in Bridesburg, PA.   It was me and Tina again and we were hell-bent for more Brat Pack.  For you youngins, VHS tapes came onto the scene in the 80’s and were the greatest thing since bubble gum.  I mean, imagine being able to get a tape, pop it into a machine and watch a movie at leisure. (Stop laughing at me!)

Class is in session at a Colorado high school as Soviet & Cuban Troops parachute onto the football field.  The kids become armed and flee the school into nearby woods.  It is Colorado, so you don’t have to guess that it is cold.  The band of feisty fighters becomes “The Wolverines!” as they wage their own war.

I watched this movie again about four years ago, and I have to say, I felt a little embarrassed.  It seemed lame.  This feeling of lameness actually made me feel good because… it meant I matured!

When I watched it in the 80’s, an again not so long ago, I came away with one feeling (besides my maturity) and that was… we always fight for what is right, no matter the cost.

I could definitely list at least ten other movies from the 80’s that were downright awesome.  But I want to hear from you.  Are any of my three on your list?  Do you have better ones?  Please share!

Come On Down!

Ahh… the game shows!  How much fun were they?  I remember sitting with my grandmother and watching many game shows.

If I asked you to name ten game shows from the 80’s, could you?

I sat down on a slow day at work last week and listed the first ten that popped in my head.

Drum roll please…..

Hollywood Squares – Nine famous (some more than others) people in a big box answering trivia questions and cracking jokes.  Kind of like Tic Tac Toe with people.

Tic Tac Dough – Nine squares with different categories.  Get three in a line and you win!  Kind of reminds me of Jeopardy.

Press Your Luck – Big Bucks!  Big Bucks!  No Whammy!

The Price Is Right started in 1972 and continues today with Drew Carrey.

Wheel Of Fortune in the 80’s the winnings were used to buy prizes (lame!).

TPIR and WOF are the longest running game shows in U.S. television history.

The Newlywed Game  ran until 1980.  Was re-done with Paul Rodriguez in 1988.

Family Feud started in 1975 ended in 1985.

Love Connection  The first reality dating show?

Let’s Make A Deal (The All New) – Hosted by Monte Hall, audience members dressed in crazy costumes to increase their chance of selection to the stage.

Win, Lose or Draw was kind of like Pictionary and almost as lame.  Viki Lawrence hosted this show and that was the only good thing about it.

When I watch re-runs of these shows I snap back to simple days of cherry Kool-Aid and not being bombarded by cellphone calls or text messages.

C’mon!  Which ones did I miss? Were there any you loved? Hated?

Like, Oh My God… We Totally Wore That. Totally.

When we think of the 80’s (well, when I think of them) we think about Aqua Net hair-spray, fluorescent shirts, bubble gum jeans and Madonna.  This era of the 80’s seems to be the most profound.

There was a brief period of fluorescent clothing and bling … like jelly bracelets and shirts with giant words on them.  I remember desperately wanting a fluorescent shirt for Christmas and I got one in neon pink (Thanks Santa!).

Thanks to Madonna , jelly bracelets, beads, and big lacy bows (all in black or white) became popular and sort of phased out the whole fluorescent genre of accessories (Thank you Madonna!).

For the guys, it was windbreakers, jams shorts, skinny ties and those awful looking checkered slip on shoes.

Turn on any re-run of Growing Pains and you’ll see Kirk Cameron who played Mike Seaver sporting the best of the fashion trends along with Tracy Gold who played his frustrated sister, Carol.  Although Mike was always in some sort of trouble, he always looked sharp.

When I was 12 years old, which was smack dab in the middle of the 80’s, I had a shirt that I thought was the… Coolest. Shirt. EVER.  It was oversized, slightly off the shoulder and had written in fluorescent letters, WOEM with a pencil thin picture of a cats face on it.  I love, love, loooved when I had to explain that shirt to people.

Duh!  It’s meow backwards lame-o!  I felt so superior. Like, dude, if you can’t figure out that woem is meow spelled backwards you are.. like.. totally lame.  Totally.

The interesting thing is… I never, ever, thought I’d see those awful skinny jeans, hideous fluorescent clothes or jelly bracelets again.  But guess what?

They’re baaa-ack!

I was in my daughter’s room the other night chatting with her and spotted a pile of jelly bracelets.  I literally freaked out:

“Oh My God!  Where did you get these?!” I shrieked as I picked them up.

Holy 1986!

“Uh, the store?” sarcastic of course.

“Hunny!  I used to wear bracelets just. Like. These!” Still shrieking.

“Uh, ok?” concerned.

“That is so… awesome!” almost gushing.

“Mom, can you get out of my room?” serious.

I suddenly realized that I was no longer cool and that as much as I, at times, miss my bittersweet love affair with the 80’s I had to get back to life in the 10’s.

 “Ok, hunny,” big smile as I lay the bracelets (reluctantly) down on her desk.  “I will totally get out of your room, for sure.”

Confused face, rolled eyes, she walks toward me and… SLAM goes the door.

I still love to remind her about all the things she wears now and how I used to wear stuff just like it.


Question of the day:  What clothing from the 80’s did you love or hate?