Category Archives: Uncategorized

Remember The Plastic Pop Top?

I was fiddling around with the lid to my Diet Pepsi bottle the other day and got to thinking about the old plastic pop bottle tops. This was an item that was probably in every home up until about 30 years ago, but has now disappeared almost completely. Back in the seventies pop was sold in bottles with metal bottle caps that had to be popped off using a bottle opener. Once the bottle cap was removed it was unusable for resealing the bottle. Leaving the bottle uncapped allowed the carbonation to escape and the pop went flat. In order to fix this problem a simple little gadget was invented, a plastic reusable bottle cap.

bottlecaps

Some of the caps were used as promotional items and had the name of the bottler painted on it. Other caps were sold in packages at department stores in their housewares department or at grocery stores in their pop aisle. There were plain round ones and then there were ones with “tails”. The tail was a thin strip of plastic connected to a plastic collar that was placed around the neck of the bottle. This allowed the consumer to open the plastic top without fear of losing it.

The plastic pop top was made obsolete by the screw top pop bottle. Every cap was now a resealable bottle cap. In addition to the plastic pop tops, “church keys”, the bottle openers that popped off the old caps or poked holes in the old pre-pull tab cans depending on which end you used also soon went missing. The market tried to sell a redesigned bottle opener that fit down around the twist off caps and assisted in twisting them off. This didn’t last too long as the caps became easier to unscrew and people learned to use pliers on the bottles that remained contrary.

I miss those days. I also miss the old metal pop tops that had a thin layer of cork inside them as well. Drinks just seemed to taste better coming out of these bottles. The bottlers also used to place removable plastic liners inside the metal tops with game pieces or prizes on them. Now days the information is printed directly inside the screw off cap or on the back of the thin drink label wrapped around the bottle.

I Don’t Remember Buying That

Over the last few weeks we have moved over ninety boxes of toys from the old house to the new house. Some of them contain items I remember fondly such as my Mego Planet of the Apes dolls or old Star Wars toys. Some of the boxes contain toys that I recall buying, but that aren’t nearly as special to me. For example I have a couple or six boxes full of Simpsons action figures and a few Simpsons playsets as well. I bought the Android’s Dungeon comic shop playset because it was a comic shop and had the exclusive Comic Book Guy action figure. Of course what good is a playset without a few more figures, so I got Bartman. Then I picked up some other figures and a few more playsets because I wanted a little more diversity in my Springfield. When KB Toys put a bunch of them on sale, I had to buy even more of them. Next thing I knew I had a mini collection of Simpsons toys.

All of those items I remembered buying, but then I ran across the action figures for The Matrix and Austin Powers. Did I actually buy those? I must have because they’re quite clearly in my collection. Maybe they were on sale or clearance and I just couldn’t pass them up. The only problem there is that the price tags don’t seem to indicate this being the case. The Matrix figures appear to have all been purchased for the regular retail price of $9.99.

Finding items like this in my collection is like finding a hidden surprise, but it also hits on another problem. If I don’t remember buying them or having them, how badly would I miss them if I sold them? The Matrix figures all have very nice sculpts, but The Matrix isn’t a touchstone film with me. I enjoyed it, but the only personal milestone I can think of that is tied to it is the fact that it was the first film I saw at the Marquee Cinemas. The theater was having its pre-grand opening and was giving out free admission to celebrate. The wife and I had stopped to purchase tickets for Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace which was scheduled to open that weekend and stumbled into the giveaway promotion. I took the kids to see The Matrix and the wife went to see Shakespeare In Love. It was a fun evening, but nothing that would make me want to hold on to the toys as a reminder of it.

If I would just cut my toy collection down to the toys that actually mean something to me, I could probably make a few bucks selling the other items on eBay. Except when I look for these toys on eBay I run into two situations. Either they aren’t selling at all or they’re selling for so much money that I don’t want to sell them because if I ever decided that I did want them again, I’d never pay the price it takes to get them back. Yes, I have some serious issues with turning loose of things.

The Oscars Was My Childhood’s Super Bowl

I was a very unathletic child with asthma and coordination issues. There was no male role model in the house to drill the love of sports and loyalty to a sports team into my DNA. What I grew up with was a love of reading and of watching movies. I discovered the Oscars during the ceremony that saw Jaws nominated for best picture and lose. I didn’t actually stay up to watch the whole ceremony, but I flipped over and saw Jaws win a technical award and was pleased. I had probably caught a few minutes of some earlier broadcasts now that I think of it because I remember wondering why Million Dollar Duck wasn’t nominated or some of the other animated films I had seen that year. But I remember the Jaws ceremony as much more important to me. I was shocked that it didn’t win best picture.

It was a couple of years later that I became hooked on the Oscars. Star Wars had been nominated for best picture. I was certain it had to win. I had never seen a film that made me as happy as Star Wars did the first time I saw it. It was up against Julia, The Turning Point, Annie Hall, and The Goodbye Girl. Before the ceremony aired, I got to see The Goodbye Girl and Annie Hall. Annie Hall just didn’t connect to the 14-year-old boy living in Spring Hill, West Virginia. It had some funny moments, but I would need another year before I learned to appreciate Annie Hall, although I did develop a fondness for Woody Allen’s other films. The Goodbye Girl was a different story. I saw it at the old Saint Albans Twin Cinemas and immediately fell in love with it. If Star Wars didn’t win, I wanted The Goodbye Girl to take home the gold. I also wanted Star Wars to completely destroy Close Encounters of the Third Kind which at my young age I had decided was the most boring film in the history of the world. I reviewed it for my school’s newspaper and still remember the headline, “Close Encounters of the Boring Kind”. I really didn’t like it.

April 3, 1978 I stayed up late and watched until the final award of the evening was handed out. There were several things that made a huge impact on me that night. The first was Vanessa Redgrave’s acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress. The next was Paddy Chayefsky’s rebuttal to her speech. This was also the night Bob Hope made a joke about the Oscars being referred to in his house as Passover that for some reason has stuck with me for all these years. By the end of the night Star Wars had pretty much beaten CE3K, but it still managed to lose to Annie Hall. At least Richard Dreyfuss won for The Goodbye Girl. One other memorable moment was watching favored nominee Richard Burton start to stand up to accept the award after only hearing the “Richard” part of it.

Ever since that night I have watched every single Oscar telecast live except for two. One year our cable was out and I had a friend and a family member both tape it for me so that I could watch it later. I followed the ceremony on the Internet using my AOL dial-up account. Another year I was just too tired to watch anything. I taped it and watched it later as well.

For several years Oscar night was met with plates of snacks and a festive atmosphere. The wife and I would each write down our picks and see who did a better job at picking the winners. It was usually me. Many times she would choose with her heart or a gut feeling while I would study all the factors like a gambler at the horse track. Never the less, she still managed to pick several that I missed. This year we pretty much let the whole thing drop. I had just gotten over a bad bout with the flu. There was no talk of making snacks. I guess she was worried about what my stomach would be able to handle, and she was tired from dealing with a sick hubby for several days. She sat down with me for the red carpet pre-show, but before the first award was handed out, she had settled in under the covers in the bedroom with the lights out.

One other thing that was different this year was that my daughter decided for the first time to actually sit down and watch the entire ceremony with me. Both of my kids have made attempts at trying to feign interest in their dad’s yearly big night, but these normally end within a couple of technical awards when they remember that there was something they needed to check on in their room. That’s kid-speak for “I’m bored and going to go play video games”. I was happy to have my daughter there this year, but I missed not having the wife beside me. Hopefully next year things will work out better. As for my picks… this was my worst year ever. I had absolutely no idea in so many categories. I had only seen one theatrical film in the last year (The Avengers) and hadn’t managed to pick up any of the available nominees on Blu-ray. Maybe next year.

Wasted Days & Wasted Nights

It amazes me when I get a day off and don’t feel like I manage to accomplish a thing. Don’t get me wrong, I did get some things done, just not the laundry list of things I wanted to get done. The wife and I went through and shredded old receipts from 1989 through the early 2000’s today. Now while this was something that needed to be done, it just doesn’t feel like anything either. I had planned to move over another shelf full of magazines and a desk full of books to help finish out most of the center of the old house’s library. Instead we turned 15 years worth of phone bills into confetti.

I thought perhaps I would try and catch up on some comic reading. I got through the first three issues of All New X-Men and fell asleep in the middle of issue 4. Remember how I said in my last post that I need those 8 hours of sleep? Well I only got 6 last night and my body has been reminding me about it every waking moment. I think my DVR viewing is up to date with the exception of the new season of Workaholics. I have two episodes sitting on the DVR waiting to be watched, but no burning desire to jump in and start watching.

Workaholics is one of those shows that I enjoy, but I find myself dreading to watch. I have similar reactions to Wilfred and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. I’ve also had issues getting into Dexter for the last three seasons. I watched the first episode after Rita was killed and found it so depressing that I didn’t want to go back for the next episode. Then the next season started and I didn’t want to watch until I caught up on the other season. Finally the most recent season began and I found myself two season’s behind. I decided to just knuckle down and watch the first episode, totally ruining the previous season’s twist ending shocker. I still enjoyed the show, but never managed to go back and watch anything beyond that season opener.

One show that recently started back up and that I definitely don’t let sit on the DVR for too long is Archer. I absolutely loved the season premiere this year with an amnesiac Archer thinking his name is Bob and working at a burger joint named Bob’s Burgers with his wife, Linda, and their three children. The fact that H. Jon Benjamin voices both Archer and Bob in the two respective shows made this the greatest series mash up since Bob Newhart woke up in bed with Suzanne Pleshette. It was easily my favorite thirty minutes of television this year, although the scene of Jessica Lange singing “The Name Game” in the middle of Briarcliff Insane Asylum on American Horror Story: Asylum three weeks ago is definitely a close second. To go from such a dark depressing environment to the bright shiny and very colorful song and dance number still has me floored. Jessica Lange has come a long way from Dwan in King Kong and deserves another round of awards for this season.

So, how will I cap off the night? I think I’m going to try and finish off the first disc if my Tosh.0 Deep V’s Blu-ray. Tosh.0 was one of those shows I hated initially. I thought the celebrity videos were horrible and wasn’t a fan of much else on those early episodes either. I watched two episodes and I was done. Somewhere in the middle of the third season I started watching it again. I don’t know why. I think I just had the TV turned to Comedy Central and there wasn’t anything else on screaming for my attention. The next thing I knew, I had saved the show to my DVR and couldn’t wait until the new episode hit.

When Comedy Central started releasing the episodes on DVD and Blu-ray last year, I was thrilled. They made the decision not to release full season sets, but instead to release the show based on Daniel’s wardrobe. For those not familiar with the show, Daniel wears one type of clothing for each block of episodes of which there are usually two to three blocks per season. The first season consisted of hoodies and cardigans. Season two contained casual jackets and deep v’s. So the first Blu-ray consisted of all the Hoodies episodes. I bought it and watched it the night before my big job change in June 2012. It helped keep me up and entertained so I would be ready to take on going from day shift to evening shift. At Christmas time they released volume 2 on DVD and Blu-ray, but it was Deep V’s, the last 15 or so episodes of season 2. The last episodes of season 1 and the first episodes of season 2 were released on DVD only as a Wal-Mart exclusive and numbered as volume 3. Can somebody please tell Comedy Central that some of us out here actually care about about things like proper release order and numbering? I’m still pissed at the Simpsons for releasing season 20 after season 12 or 13.

I’m also pissed that no one has made a deal to release the later seasons of SNL. Don’t get me wrong. The first five seasons are THE classic years for the show, but I also want to see the train wreck that was season 6 and season 11. I want to watch the episodes with Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscipo that I ignored while I was in my senior year of high school. I want to catch the classic late 80s episodes with Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz, Dennis Miller, and Dana Carvey. I also want to see the early Will Ferrell episodes and watch Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s early days before 30 Rock and Parks and Rec. If Universal doesn’t want to release them, they should license the rights to Shout Factory who does an amazing job with shows like this.

Who the hell am I anyway?

In just a few short months, I will be 49 years old. This means that most likely over my half of my life is gone. I look back at the days of my youth and think about the way things used to be. Then I look around at today and think when did the world pass me by. I tried to start a Twitter account and couldn’t think of anything worth tweeting. I think about doing a You Tube video, and realize that I have no idea how to post one. On the other hand a blog is writing. That seems to be something I can handle. In fact I have done it before for a little over a year.

A couple of years back I decided to watch a DVD a day and write a blog reviewing the discs that I watched. I did it and after the year was up, I was too tired to go on. I won’t be attempting that here, but I thought that it might be fun to write about my life without being confined to the small amount of text that Twitter or Facebook allows. If I feel like writing a diatribe that rambles on for multiple paragraphs, a blog can handle that. If I want to post a short thought, a blog can handle that as well.

At the time of this writing it is 3 AM. I took off from work today because my asthma flared up. I work six days a week and I live about 45 minutes from my job. A normal day has me away from home for nearly 10 hours. I also sleep. I find that at my age I need and I want my full eight hours of sleep. That takes care of 18 hours in a day leaving only 6 hours available for other things. Now I should also mention that my wife and I have been trying to move since October.

My wife’s parents bought a new house and gave us their old place. In turn we gave our old place to our son and his wife. When we first moved in, we had to clear out all of the stuff my in-laws left behind because they no longer wanted it. This took longer than you would suspect since everything had to be looked over first to decide if they might have left it by accident or if it was something my wife wanted to keep. Once the house was cleared, we decided to paint. It is very hard to paint with only 6 hours available to you and several of those hours happen to be when everyone else is sound asleep. Then there’s also the problem with the paint fumes triggering an asthma attack.

We gave up on painting and just decided to move. Of course when we started pulling out boxes and taking items down off of shelves where they had happily set for a decade or so, that stirred up a lot of dust which also triggered more asthma attacks. It became this weird situation where I would try to pack and move stuff before work, only to trigger an asthma attack that kept me from going to work after all. Of course it also meant that I couldn’t do much more moving as I needed to start using my nebulizer and fighting the asthma.

Three months and three major holidays later and we have moved most of the stuff from our bedroom, the kitchen, the bath and the living room. I have also managed to move my DVD and CD collection and the majority of my comic collection. We still have an entire library of books and an attic full of toys to go. And of course there are always the straggler pieces that pop up as well. Maybe it’s a box of the wife’s yarn that was hidden behind something or a wall hanging in the bathroom that I keep forgetting to take down. I have been asking for time off to try and finish the move, but this has fallen on deaf ears, so I am stuck in the loop of trying to move as much as I can before work without inhaling enough dust, dirt and pet hair to send my lungs into shock and forcing me to call off.

At least today’s power move was worth the trauma to the lungs. I cleared out a section of the attic that I thought only contained old receipts. Turned out it also contained a box of childhood memories including my first scrapbook. This was a large notebook with a 1970’s astrological sun design filled with old movie theater ads and lids from Aurora model kits. There was a Burger Chef window sticker of a Picklepotamus in there as well. The box also held a near complete run of The Bicentennial Times. The funny thing is, I thought most of this stuff was lost during a previous move.