Please Forgive The Mess

These past few days, I have been making a bunch of changes to the layout and overall design of the site. However, I've yet to hit on the note I'm looking for. While things are different, they're not popping for me. Please forgive the mess as I continue to design and tweak things in an attempt to get it right.

In the interim, regularly scheduled posts will continue to come as planned every Monday and Wednesday, with random posts still trickling in between.

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Sizzling Hot Garbage Reel

The internet gives a mild sleepy groan as once again a sizzle reel hits the web for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Watch in awe as Darth Reydar ignites her double bladed flip phone and teases being a dark Jedi - Even though it won't happen. Good ol' Disney trying to subvert our expectations.

What interests me the most about this trailer is the heavy reliance on Original and Prequel Trilogy footage, for a full minute of the two minute trailer, just to drum up some form of interest. If they had a strong film on their hands, the footage from the actual film should be enough to generate the buzz you're looking for.

Clearly there's not too many people out there who actually care about the final outing of The Three Stooges, Poe, Rey and Finn. Can't say as I blame them based on the retreading of Episode VII and the mess that was Episode VIII.

I can honestly say I have zero interest in seeing this film. The reason being, I simply don't care about these one dimensional characters. They exist to check boxes of diversity and stereotypes, but have zero personality, are unlikable and offer nothing relatable to your average person beyond identifying with their race or gender.

I wanted to be Han Solo as a kid because he was smug, yet lovable. Strong, yet gentle. A scoundrel, but a hero. I'd never want to be Poe because I wouldn't want to be in a room full of women being demeaned for being a white male with an opinion.

Maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm just getting too old for Star Wars. Maybe Star Wars is for kids. However, that in and of itself is a frighting thing to think about. I would never want my son to be belittled like Poe or my daughter to walk around acting like a know-it-all, who doesn't need any help, like Rey. I certainly wouldn't want an emo cry baby like Kylo.

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Retro Spins: Twisted Sister - Stay Hungry

Twisted Sister
Stay Hungry

It's the album the band loved so much they released it twice. Twisted Sisters 1984 album Stay Hungry (re-recorded and re-released as Still Hungry in 2004) wasn't the bands first album. It wasn't even their second. However, as they say, third time's the charm, and that it was. The album went triple platinum putting the band on the map of glam rock super stardom.

The album starts out on a high note with the title track, Stay Hungry, and then launches into what is probably the bands most popular hit, We're Not Gonna Take It. From there, we get the song I actually know from Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, Burn in Hell.

I did have to smile when I saw the track name for the forth song included Captain Howdy. For those of you who don't know who that is, he's the character who would appear in Dee Snider's Strangeland in 1998 - A guilty cult classic favorite of mine. I actually saw the film in theaters when it was first released then ran to the video store when it came out on DVD. It's gory-ously fantastic. It was interesting to essentially hear the story of the film, or at least part of it, in this two part track.

The album then jumps into another well known hit, I Wanna Rock, a good halfway point track for the album - Literally song five of nine. The Price, which followed I Wanna Rock, was actually a new track for me and I was pleasantly surprised as to how much I enjoyed it. Dee Snider's voice is fantastically haunting throughout the ballad. 

Don't Let Me Down picks up the pace from there, and while it's catchy, it's just okay. I threw it into my 80's shuffle to see if it has any longevity. Time will tell that one. The rest of the album unfortunately quickly became forgettable. More so background noise than anything.

Overall, not a bad album. I ended up grabbing six of the nine songs for my iTunes / iPod shuffle sessions.

Dee Snider has had an impressive career in the music industry and a cult classic film which will forever be remembered by horror fans. Honestly though, the most impressive thing I've ever seen come from the man was when he owned the PMRC and Tipper Gore as he defended music artists against being labeled with explicit stickers on their albums. He not only produced a coherent argument which put the onus on parents to preview and control the content their children listened to, but also made it clear that the way his music was interpruted by Tipper Gore and her "board" was incorrect. The hearing is well worth checking out. I've put it below.

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C-3PO's Cereal (Kellogg's)

C-3PO Cereal
1984 - 1985

A long time ago in a newspaper, far, far away...

Twin rays, phased together, for  two crunches in every double "o"! It was the tagline which turned Star Wars fans towards a delicious honey-sweetened oat, wheat and corn cereal packed with ten essential vitamins and minerals. I'd be lying if I said I didn't eat my fair share of boxes while watching Saturday morning cartoons.

Of course, what's a great box of cereal without an incentive either inside or on the box? Kellogg's had a fair share of them throughout the life of the cereal.

The original 1984 boxes kicked off with a promotion for cut out masks which were featured on the back of each box. There were six in all to collect.

1984 Box with C-3PO Mask

 1984 Box with Luke Skywalker Mask

 1984 Box with Chewbacca Mask

 1984 Box with Yoda Mask

 1984 Box with Darth Vader Mask

 1984 Box with Stormtrooper Mask

When 1985 rolled around, Kellogg's packed in a fun Rebel Rocket inside each box. This particular promotion was also notable for the additional mail away promo on the side of the box. By sending in three UPC's from three boxes of C-3PO's along with the included order form, you would receive four (random) Kenner micro collection figures. With twelve different figures in all, you'd need to send in at minimum nine UPC's for a chance to get them all...That's if you didn't get a duplicate set.

 1985 Box with Free Star Wars Rebel Rocket Promotion

Probably the most highly sought after promotion from the cereal is the 1985 Sticker / Trading Cards. There were ten in all and each one was unique in its own right. Unlike any trading card I've seen before or since, this particular set of cards featured a sticker on top, which when pealed away revealed the trading card portion. Sets these days are incredibly difficult to track down and can garner upwards of $150.00 for a full set. Mind you, buy full set I mean all ten stickers / cards and then an additional set of ten cards (without the stickers on them).

 1985 Box with Star Wars Sticker / Trading Cards Promotion

For those of you curious, here is a complete set of both the sticker and card sets. This is absolutely by far the most difficult trading card set I have ever put together.

 1985 Star Wars Sticker Promotion

 1985 Star Wars Sticker Promotion

 1985 Trading Card Promotion

 1985 Trading Card Promotion

 1985 Trading Card Promotion

Of course, to help promote this whole new cereal, Kellogg's made sure to produce this fantastic standee to stand alongside boxes in grocery stores. Since most of them got discarded and / or destroyed after use, you can expect to drop anywhere from $400.00 to $500.00 if you find one. The bright side to this is that most of them are in unused condition because they never made their way out to store isles - Probably in some small mom and pop grocer that no longer exists today.

1984 Display Standee

You know, I really miss the days when cereal was fun for me. Sure, I can go to any store on any block and get a box of Fruity Pebbles, Coco Puffs, Frosted Flakes and all those other brands which have withstood the test of time. But, where are those great one offs that came and went? Mr. T Cereal, Ghostbusters, Nintendo Cereal System, Donkey Kong and of course C-3PO's (just to name a few).

How awesome would it be to break open a re-released and fresh box of any one of those and settle in for a morning full of 80's Saturday morning cartoons followed by a fun adventure with some toys sprawled out across the floor?

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Retro Spins: Queen - The Works

The Works

My prior post on Metallica's Kill 'Em All where Queen got an honorable mention seemed like the perfect springboard to do my first Retro Spin on the band.

While I knew of Queen songs back in the day, I didn't know who the band was. My first introduction was on Springbook Volume 46 which featured Crazy Little Thing Called Love, but not from Queen. Rather, these albums, which were only produced and released in South Africa, featured cover bands (of sorts) singing the tracks. The lyrics were also changed slightly (for whatever reason that I still don't know).

Fast forward to 1991. Lead singer Freddie Mercury tragically passes away from AIDS and MTV hosts the day long Freddie Mercury Tribute concert. I tuned in for the likes of Metallica, Guns and Roses, Def Leppard and a huge surprise. I knew a lot of these songs people were singing. Queen songs.

It was because of this I began picking up cassettes of the newly remastered Hollywood Records Queen albums which were released in troves in 1991. The label literally released every single album the band had in their catalog, including several live albums. Queen would also become the first CD I ever owned when I traded the cassette versions to my brother for the CD's he had. It was from there that I completed my collection with 1982's Hot Space becoming the last album I needed - Prior to 1995's Made in Heaven (and any subsequent "new" releases).

In the middle of all that, somewhere, was The Works. The album features the massive hits, Radio Ga Ga, I Want to Break Free and Hammer to Fall. Then there's the rest of the album, which if I may interject from a biased opinion, is fantastic! Really, you'd be hard pressed to find a Queen song I don't like. They're my all time favorite band for a reason.

The album delivers right from the start with Radio Ga Ga and continues to flow seamlessly from track to track as it rounds out with the soft spoken Is This the World We Created...?. I honestly can't imagine any one track missing from the album because it's so perfect the way it is...Again, biased opinion all the way.

Believe it or not, I actually ended up selling all of my CD's shortly after graduating high school, which included all of my Queen albums. However, things came full circle as the guy I sold them too would eventually end up offloading all of his CD's in the mid 2000's in lieu of the digital age. As such, Queen came home to me when I took all of them and more off of his hands.

Much like any good writer of a story, I already have my ending in mind for my CD collection. See, as I said above, my CD collection started with Queen way back in the 90's - The Hollywood Records releases which included remixes and bonus tracks. My plan, once I have all the other CD's I've been looking for crossed off my list, is to purchase the original EMI / Elektra CD pressings of all their studio albums thus completing the circle, or as Queen would put it, "As It Began".

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Marvel Universe (Impel)

Marvel Universe

I dabbled in cards here and there in the 80's, but never really focused or worried about compiling a full set. I would grab a pack for twenty-five cents when my mom would send us down to the local 7-11, which typically involved Garbage Pail Kids. However, when Impel's Marvel Universe hit comic shops in 1990, something changed. At this point in my life, I was big into comics. Reading, drawing, writing, comics, comics comics. I needed these cards, and I needed a full st.

Pack after pack I bought of these things, and yet for two years, card number ten, Wolverine, eluded me left and right. It wouldn't be until meeting a guy in high school that he would sell me the card I was looking for to complete my collection. Mind you, for me, a collection didn't consist of chase cards. I knew based on the packed ratios I would never get all of those. I didn't necessarily want them anyway.

A complete base set is a whopping one hundred sixty-two cards, including the checklist. That's a whole lot of comic goodness packed in each plastic card pack. Speaking of which, those packs came in three different styles; Captain America, Wolverine and Spider-Man! When picking my packs, I often favored the Spider-Man ones because he was my favorite character at the time

The set was broken down into several sub categories which included, Super Heroes, Super Villains, Rookies, Famous Battles, MVC (Most Valuable Cover), Team Pictures, Spider-Man Presents, the checklist and holofoils. My personal favorites were the basic heroes and villains, which were essentially the heart of the series anyway.

How many of these M.V.C. comics did (do) you have? I had Spider-Man 129 (first appearance of Punisher) and Incredible Hulk 181 (first appearance of Wolverine).

I went ahead and included both sides of the Spider-Man Presents cards in this post. The front of the card is on the top row, and the back on the bottom row.

These holofoil cards were near impossible for me to obtain as a kid because I never opened a full box. It was always a few random packs from this store, then another across town a few weeks later, then perhaps a couple out of state while visiting grandparents. That really cuts your odds down.

To date, this remains one of my all time favorite card sets. It represents a period for me when Marvel Comics was essentially every breath I took as a teenager. It snapshots that moment in time for me, and leaves me with so many great memories.

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