Saturday, September 30, 2006

Old School Orlando: Fort Liberty

Orlando, Florida is obviously known for it's world class theme parks like Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World. Surrounding these vacation destinations are hundreds and hundreds of smaller tourist attractions looking to get a piece of every families vacation dollar. One of the more popular types of attractions are dinner shows. These shows all follow a similar format, some kind of big themed tournament style show along with a meal also themed to the show. You've got your Medieval Times with it's knights, horses and jousting and then a king's feast of dry chicken and Little Debbie snack cakes. There's also Arabian Nights with more people jumping around on horses while you eat....Arabian food???. Dolly Parton even got into the act with Dixie Stampede where you watch coyboys ride around on horses while you eat dry chicken and drink Diet Mountain Dew out of a jar. There's also Pirates, Sleuths, and Capone's (I doubt they involve horses but probably dry chicken.) Even the theme parks have gotten into the act, a few years ago we went to Mickey's Backyard BBQ where we paid $50 bucks to line dance with Mickey and Minnie Mouse in 138 degree heat while getting drunk on all-you-can-drink beer and wine.
As with Orlando attractions of any type, there are bound to be some casualties. Fort Liberty was another dinner show themed to the ol' Wild Wild West. Guests entered an old Civil War for and enjoyed a performance of cavalry riding horses and shooting muskets at each other. While civil war broke out vacationers enjoyed dry chicken and New Coke. Actually, the menu looks pretty good with sliced smoked pork, fried chicken, baked potato, beans and corn on the cob. And don't forget for dessert: Liberty Apple Pie (that's a special kind of apple pie!)

The Fort didn't last too long, and before long it closed it's doors to horse seeking visitors. Some of the horses now probably work at the newer Dixie Stampede. Disney has their own wildly popular western themed dinner and show called the Hoopty Doo Musical Review which has been running at least twice a night since the mid 70's. I guess that town wasn't big enough for the two of them! What's funny about Fort Liberty is that the building still stands today and is used as a normal ol' shopping center for locals. Imagine getting your videos or dry cleaning at a unauthentic civil war fort! There's also a Subway sub shop in the Fort. I stopped there once with a buddy of mine that lives down there, I asked for Old Bay on my sub and the "sandwich artist" looked at me like I was crazy. See, they don't have Old Bay down there...I probably could have asked for "GatorSpice" or something like that. Crazy Floridians!

White & Nerdy Video

Here's the latest comedy masterpiece from "Weird Al" Yankovic...

Friday, September 29, 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen...The Ed South Show

Today marks the official online debut of content from THE ED SOUTH SHOW. Yeah! For those of you unaware of TV's greatest gem, THE ED SOUTH SHOW was a public access cable show that debuted on Howard County Comcast Public Access in the summer of 1998. The show started off as an interview/magazine style show but quickly morphed into a sitcom. It was produced by me, Ed, along with the help of many of my talented friends. Being Public Access that means that there was no money involved in the making of the show. Everything was done on everyone's own time and nobody ever got paid for anything that we ever did. But we had a lot of fun, and we took alot of pride in what we were doing. At the time we started the show, our public access channel was nothing more than public affair programs all shot in the same studio with the same backdrop, same furniture, and same handful of plants that were rearranged for each show. THE ED SOUTH SHOW looked to add some entertainment and comedy to the channel's line-up. For the sake of variety I also vowed never to shoot anything in the studio.

We produced 18 half-hour episodes between October 1997 and November 2001. The show was basically about a guy named Ed (played by me) who had a local TV show. Sometimes we saw Ed at work doing his show, and other times we saw behind the scenes of the show and his private life. The behind the scenes portions of the show were all scripted and performed by a number of friends and co-workers. Some of the characters on the show included the owner of the TV station R. J. Tartersauce (Kevin McCrum); Ed's girlfriend Amy (played over the years by three different actresses: Allisan Pyer, Maggie Sandy, and Ann Metz); Amy's best friend Jessica (Jen Kersey); Jessica's idiot boyfriend Devon (Brian Kaiser) and Ed's producer Producer Brian (also played by Brian Kaiser).

Before we get to the clip, let me also say that THE ED SOUTH SHOW would not have been what it was without the fantastic help of everyone that was involved especially Andrew Heiliger, Matt Maloy, Brendan P. Hines, Chad McCaughey, the one and only Mr. Joey Carwash and Brian Kaiser. We also have to send a shout-out to James Conners for helping me get clips from the show into a digital format for uploading to the internets!

So...on with the first clip....This is the idiotic opening skit from episode #007 "The Return of Devon." This quick skit is a good example of how we liked to do a whole bit based on just one joke. It's also the first time we worked with Jen Kersey, who went on to take the roll of Jessica and appear in several more episodes. The music in this skit was produced for us by Phil Heiliger, who also did the show's theme song. Listen carefully to the music, you may notice that it's just one note off of the original song it's supposed to be...that's for legal reasons since we obviously couldn't afford to use the real song.

If you didn't "get it" you can click here.

We'll have lots more clips from THE ED SOUTH SHOW in the near future!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Roller Coaster Memories

I checked out a couple more books from the library about roller coasters. This time they were from the adult section. I found a few pictures that I wanted to share with ya'll. The first two pictures come from THE GREAT AMERICAN ROLLER COASTER by Scott Rutherford. The Zephyr, seen here on the left, was the first roller coaster I ever rode! It was probably 1982 when I rode it, putting me at age 8. The Zephyr made it's home at Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans. All I remember is that the track was enclosed from the loading station to the chain lift, and that I was hyperventilating for the better part of an hour after I rode it. At the time, the Zephyr was something like one of the top 10 wooden roller coasters in the country. I doesn't look all the big in this picture, but I guess when you're 8 years old looking up at it, it's huge! Lake Pontchartrain closed in 1983 and then was redeveloped almost 20 years later into Jazzland Amusement Park. Jazzland quickly became Six Flags New Orleans (shocker) and then the park was wiped off the map in 2005 thanks to Hurricane Katrina.

This photo is an early `70's shot of my beloved Kings Dominion. First off, notice the lake in the picture which used to be home to water ski shows. Now it's the water park. Of course in the background is the classic Rebel Yell but the coaster spotlighted in this picture is the small steel coaster at the bottom, Galaxy. I was thrilled to see this picture as I remember riding this great little coaster and loving it but never finding any pictures or much documentation that the ride ever existed. It's a large portable ride and it's still probably operating in a small park somewhere to this day. The Galaxy was removed in the mid-80's to make room for the Shockwave stand-up roller coaster. The Galaxy and rides like it were at one time a staple at most amusement parks and carnivals, but now they are hard to come by.

This last picture is from the book ROLLER COASTERS by Mike Schafer & Scott Rutherford. Here we see Hersheypark's classic Sooperdooperlooper. Built in the late 70's, this was the first roller coaster to turn riders upside-down on the east coast, and is my people's first looping coaster they ever went on. The ride still runs today, and remains as popular as ever, even if it's dwarfed by other rides in the park. A picture taken from this vantage point today would look quite different then the one we see here. The pathway visible in the photo is now lined with games of chance and an information booth called Information...and more that I happened to work at occasionally when I worked for the Guest Services department of the park a few years back. The info booth is located directly inbetween the entrance and exit for the Sooperdooperlooper, therefore I spent most of my days in the booth answering the questions "Where do you go to get on the Sooperdooperlooper?" and "Where do people come off of the Sooperdooperlooper?"

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I Hate Owls

Bob-Howdy, I hate owls! They are on a list with bats, eagles, and koalas as members of the animal kingdom that I could do without! They are too big to be birds, they don't have necks and they are evil!

The other night my wife and I came home after visiting with some friends. It was about one o'clock in the morning. When we got out of the car, among the various creepy sounds of the night we could distinctly hear the "Hoot-Hoot" of an owl. Freaked out, I quickly surveyed the surrounding area. Perched on a telephone wire that borders our property I spotted a shadowy figure about the size of a bobcat. "That must be an owl...up there," I said as I pointed out the unidentified silhouette to my wife. We kept our eye on the telephone wires as we made out way to the front door. Suddenly the animal let out
an attack call and spread it's wings.

My wife and I turned into Hanna-Barbera characters as we jumped in the air, revved our feet and then shot towards the front door of our home in lightning speed. It was obvious at this point, the animal on the telephone wire was indeed an owl...An evil, nasty owl out for blood. As the owl spread it's wings and began to flap, we could feel the warm summer air sweep past our necks as the bird took flight. I fumbled for the house key while the owl swooped from his perch and headed towards a forest of trees across the street. We breathed a sigh of relief.

At that point the owl sensed that our guard was down, he made a 180 degree turn in the air and began to sail straight towards us. I couldn't get the key in the door quick enough! The owl plunged right at us. Jennifer and I ducked for cover but it was no use. The owl grabbed my wife's purse with his razor sharp talons and ripped it away from her. Taking to the night sky once again, the owl let out a mocking screech as it flew over the neighborhood dumping the contents of Jennifer's purse all over the neighboring lawns. We made it inside our house, slamming the door behind us thankful that we both survived without any physical harm.

The next morning we went outside to gather what we could from Jen's purse. We relayed the story of the brutal owl attack to our neighbors as we collected Jen's belongings from their property. One of the neighbors was outraged that such a violent attack could happen on our street. He gathered a few of the other neighbors along with some torches and pitchforks and they made their way into the forest to hunt down the blood thirsty owl. I stayed with Jennifer to make sure we found everything we could from her purse. In the end, all that was missing was a roll of Mentos, a nail file, and a couple of credit cards.

The following week when the credit card bill came there were fraudulent charges on the statement. Among them a $175 bar tab at Hooters, a charge at wale-Mart for $84 worth of Tootsie Roll pops, and a charge for $1,700 at for gowns and mortarboards.

At least...that's kind of how it all happened...?!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my mom's birthday. Happy Birthday Mom! The picture to the right is my mom holding me up to blow out the candles on my awesome Mickey Mouse cake she made. This is from my 4th birthday party back in 1977. All my birthday cakes over the years have been made by my mom, in fact the same can be said for all the other kids in my neighborhood - their cakes were all made by MY mom. She used to run a cake decorating business on the side while she raised my brother and I. She made lots of awesome cakes over the years, and I thought I'd share a few with you today.

This Sesame Street cake is from my 3rd birthday, I can actually remember how excited I was about this cake. Probably because after we ate the cake I got to keep the little toys on top. Surprisingly, I don't have those little figures anymore but I do have my memories of my birthday in 1976!

I don't think this was my cake, I think my Mom made it for a friend's birthday but we took a picture of it because it was awesome. In the cake business you gotta be on top of the latest trends and nothing says 1982 better than Pac-Man. The picture is a little over-exposed, I had to fiddle with it digitally to bring some of the detail back. The side of the cake also has Pac-Man on it, he's chomping ghosts and dots. This ain't made from a pan or anything like that folks, this is from scratch!!!

We've mentioned the infamous Smurf birthday party of 1982 before. Here's the cake that went with that Smurfy party. Now the toy on this cake, I DO still have...thank you very much. It's a wind-up Jokey Smurf, he was my favorite smurf! And see...the cake says "Happy Smurf Day" instead of "Happy Birthday!" To a 9-year old Smurf loving dork like me, that was just about the coolest thing in the world!

Thanks for all the cakes, Mom! And thanks for everything else over the last 33 years! You're the best!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Toys News

The soundtrack to MICKEY MOUSE CLUBHOUSE hits stores Tuesday October 3. The CD features 18 tracks including (of course) the program's theme song once again performed by They Might Be Giants, and the TMBG penned tune "Hot Diggety Dog." Also featured on the disc are classic children's songs like "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" & "Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone" and new songs with titles like "Party at Mickey's House" and "Mouse Like Me".

More MICKEY MOUSE CLUBHOUSE fun awaits on November 14 with the release of MICKEY MOUSE CLUBHOUSE: MICKEY SAVES SANTA AND OTHER MOUSEKETALES. The release houses three episodes including the brand new "Mickey Saves Santa" and the favorites "Mickey Go Seek" and "Goofy's Bird".

Also here today, for the sake of preservation, we have an ad running in magazines announcing Mickey Mouse Clubhouse's expansion to 7 days a week! Check back soon to see the packaging of some of the new Mickey Mouse Clubhouse toys my kids are going to find under the tree this year!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Little Plastic Figures vol. 4

It's been a while since we visited the shelf of little plastic figures.

The first two pieces in this section are kid's meal prizes from Hardee's. They were a set of Hanna-Barbera cars, each car featuring two classic H-B characters in some sort of wacky car. First up is Magilla Gorilla and Wally Gator in some sort of bathtub/hydroplane combo. Then we have Quick Draw McGraw and his sidekick Baba Louie sporting their covered wagon car. These cars were original creations for the Kid's Meal. Hardee's and Arby's both had a few different Hanna-Barbera kid's meals during the 1990's.

The next two heroes on the shelf are from the fantastic 1991 Disney Afternoon series, DARKWING DUCK. I bought both of these figures either at The Disney Store or Walt Disney World, either way I was a huge Darkwing Duck fan! Darkwing is seen here sporting his superhero outfit and standing with his sidekick Launchpad McQuack. You may remember Launchpad from his first gig as Uncle Scrooge's pilot (and sometimes sidekick) from DUCKTALES which debuted a few years earlier in 1987. One summer when I was babysitting two boys full-time, I saw all 65 syndicated episodes of DARKWING DUCK and then went on to also catch all 24 Saturday morning network episodes that aired over the course of two years. It's a great show and they should have done a theatrical movie! The first batch of episodes just came out on a 3-disc DVD set!

Last we have Snoopy there in the corner. What can you say about Snoopy? He's timeless! I've been a Peanuts fan all my life! This figure was originally attached to a box of Easter candy.

Have A Nice Weekend!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Hey Look, More Cereal

There seems to be a nice reaction from readers everytime there's a post about old cereals. So I've dug up five more breakfast delights from the past to share with you today. Hope you enjoy...

In the early 80's the movie E.T. brought the world to it's knees. Everybody thought it was the greatest movie since the invention of photography. Personally, I never really got the movie. E.T.'s cereal was a bit of a let down. They decided to get creative and make the cereal in the shape of the letters "E" & "T". Wow, How fun! But no E.T. tie-in was a bigger disappointment that the Atari 2600 video game, quite possibly the worst video game ever produced!

I know I'll burn in "comedy hell" for this, but I never really got GHOSTBUSTERS either. It's an o.k. film in my book, but once again I was all about the merchandise. This cereal was pretty good with it's ghost shaped marshmallows and fruit flavored buster-logos. A bowl of Ghostbusters cereal went down real smooth a juice glass full of Hi-C Ecto Cooler.

The Muppets entered the cereal market in 1988 with Croonchy Stars, an idea supposedly created by Jim Henson himself. The idea behind the cinnamon-flavored cereal was that cereal boxes were boring and Henson wanted to design boxes they were full of jokes and games. The cereal's spokesmuppet was The Swedish Chef instead of Kermit or Piggy. Jim Henson wanted to call the cereal "Stoopid Flakes" but Post shot that idea down. In the end, Croonchy Stars was off the market in a year.

Ahhh...Smurf Berry Crunch, A legendary cereal! Who didn't want to get their hands on some Smurf Berries for breakfast. This cereal was released in the height of the Smurf-craze and did very well for itself. It was basically another version of Cap'n Crunch Crunch Berries, but it had Smurfs on the box so that made it better. Growing up, we always thought that the local grocery store got a bad shipment of Smurf Berry Crunch once because all the kids in the neighborhood starting having blue and purple poop. Thanks to the internet, the illusion that our neighborhood was special was shattered when I found out that the blue poop ordeal was a national incident and Smurf Berry Crunch was pulled from the shelves for a very short time while they switched the way the cereal was dyed. But at least I'll always have my memories of tecnocolored poopy!

Finally we bring you Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cereal. Actually a pretty good tasting cereal but it was a bit of a let down at first. The cereal was comprised of marshmallows and "Ninja Nets" which were plainly just Rice Chex. You can't just drop another cereal in a box with a cartoon character in it and call it a new cereal...and since when do ninjas use nets!? Anywho, the chex and marshmallow combo was a pretty good idea, quite tasty! Hey, by the way, there's a new Ninja Turtle movie coming out in March. It looks awesome!

If you have any cereal memories that you'd like our crack staff of cereal detectives to dig up information on just drop us a line! Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Little Mermaid Returns

I'm not ashamed to admit that THE LITTLE MERMAID is one of my all-time favorite movies. In fact, it's my second favorite movie. THE LITTLE MERMAID came out in 1989, a time before Disney Princesses was a brand name. Back then it wasn't a girl-movie, it was just a really good movie. And it was a time when cartoons were still considered strictly kids stuff. It was the double punch of THE LITTLE MERMAID and then THE SIMPSONS a few months later that made animation acceptable for all ages. I've always loved cartoons especially the Disney animated features, so even though I was 16 years old when THE LITTLE MERMAID debuted I was there opening weekend to see it.

Most of the Disney animated films of the 70's and 80's are pretty good but until that time none of them held a light to the films created under the supervision of Walt Disney. The last great animated Disney film was THE JUNGLE BOOK and that was in 1967. So the weekend before Thanksgiving 1989, a couple of friends and I went and saw THE LITTLE MERMAID at a Saturday afternoon matinee. We were expecting a film on par with the previous year's OLIVER & COMPANY or 1981's THE FOX AND THE HOUND, instead we were blown away by how fantastic the film was and how they were once again able to perfectly capture that "Disney Magic" that had been missing from their films for the last 22 years. I fell in love with the film instantly! I felt it was the first Disney classic that I got to experience first hand!

A couple of days later I was discussing the movie with my bestest buddy Grant who had seen the movie with me that Saturday. "Was it really that good?" we wondered. It seemed almost like a dream...the theatre was kind of noisy and we had bad seats, we didn't really remember all that much from the movie. So we went and saw it again that Tuesday night. On a quiet weeknight screening we were able to really enjoy the film better and we were's a fantastic movie!

THE LITTLE MERMAID is the only movie I've seen in the theatre seven times! I saw it two more times in it's initial run, I saw it once on the big screen in a theatre at Walt Disney World, and I caught it two more times in it's rerelease in 1997.

Now in 2006, THE LITTLE MERMAID is coming to DVD in a 2-disc edition loaded with bonus features and a brand-spanking new digital print of the film. It will, no doubt, look better today then it did when I first saw it 17 years ago! The extras on the disc include a making-of documentary, deleted scenes, and a feature spotlighting a Little Mermaid ride that was planned for the Disney Parks but never built. The ride is reconstructed in digital format for viewers to take a ride! There's also music videos and a show about the real life sea creatures that are animated in the film.
This DVD comes out October 3, the same day as the reissue of the soundtrack! The soundtrack will also be a 2-disc set with the original soundtrack that was released in 1989 and a second disc with songs from the movie performed by popular artists of today.

Now that I have two kids, I don't get much chance to dust off the surround sound on my home theatre system. But you can bet the night of the 3rd, we'll have it cranked up jammin' to Under the Sea.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Oh, Tron!

Tron was the first movie to cash in on the video game craze of the early 1980's. If you don't remember, Tron is a 1982 Disney film staring every kids favorite movie star Jeff Bridges. He plays a video game programmer who is working on a hot new game. Through a series of events, his character gets zapped and.....zzzzzzzzzzzz. Oh, sorry...I fell asleep just trying to tell you what the movie is about. Yes, it's that boring! In the 24 years since the film was released I've tried to sit down and watch it on several occasions and have yet to make it all the way to the end. I can't figure out what the heck is supposed to be happening in any of that film! I've either fallen asleep or been bored or confused to tears. Tron is historically significant as being the first movie to use computer generated effects. In 1982 these effects were totally mind-blowing! People didn't care about the plot of the movie, they were just dazzled by the 3-D computer animation. Nowadays, Tron looks about as technically advanced as an unfinished Coco Krispies commercial!

Tron did, however, bring us two wonderful things. It spawned the first video game based on a movie, and what a game it is. Tron remains one of my all-time favorite video games. Even though I can't understand the movie, I loves playing that game! The video game has four different games within it. One of the games is a "lightcycle" race which is the only game that I've ever seen in the film. The other three games must be based on stuff that happens after the first 20 minutes of Tron, because I don't know what they are...except fun! By the name of Jeff Bridges, That's a good game! The Tron video game was long ago edged out of arcades by Mortal Kombat and Mario Bros. so it's hard to come by. But, if you're ever in the mood to assume the electronic likeness of Jeff Bridges go to Ocean City, MD. In Marty's Playland (the first arcade you encounter on the boardwalk) in the right-hand side back corner you will find a vintage Tron machine waiting for you.

Another great form of entertainment that was born from Tron was a very special performance that you and your family could experience together. I, myself, did not witness this spectacle but can only wish that I could trade my memories of DUCKTALES ON ICE for memories of this...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Caution: I Love the Holidays

A word of caution to my readers as we enter the end-of-year Holiday Season...I Love the Holidays! I'm sure there will be quite a bit of holiday related posts coming your way in the next few months. I love the anticipation that builds up to each holiday. I love decorations, I like the foods that are associated with each holiday, and most of all I love holiday TV specials! I've always been this way but now that I have kids the holidays are even twice as fun!

Halloween is fun, picking out costumes for the kids and all the candy there is to be had! I love Fall Festivals and the pumpkin patch. Hot Apple Cider, hay rides...I'm a sucker for all that stuff. And of course there's the annual viewing of IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN.

At Thanksgiving the house smells so good with all the food that's been cooked. It's great to have a day where everyone just sits around and does nothing (except whoever is cooking all the food!) The day after Thanksgiving used to be a great day on television with lots of specials and good movies on, but that's kind of died out in the last few years. My new Thanksgiving tradition is Black Friday. My wife and I love getting up before the crack of dawn and being at Wal-Mart or Target (or whoever has the best sale) the day after Thanksgiving. We usually get 60% of our Christmas shopping done in a few hours! And you haven't lived until you've had a cheesesteak sub at 8:30 in the morning in a crowded mall food court!

And Christmas is just plain awesome! Santa Claus, Frosty, Rudolph...sign me up! I love Christmas light displays and train layouts. I'm sure once again I'll have grand plans for thousands of lights in my front yard, but after I set up the 8-foot inflatable Santa Mickey I won't feel like doing any more. Christmas candy, Christmas cookies, Christmas Fast Food promotions....I'm there! And of course so many great Christmas movies and TV specials. They don't do specials they way they used to, but luckily I have hours and hours of them on tape and DVD! I love the classics like A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS and MICKEY'S CHRISTMAS CAROL and some lesser known titles like CHRISTMAS COMES TO PAC-LAND and HE-MAN & SHE-RA's CHRISTMAS SPECIAL! Oh, and there's all that Peace on Earth, Goodwill Towards Man stuff too!

So that's just a little look at some of the stuff I'll be obsessed with over the next few months. As always, thanks for reading! Enjoy!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Dog & Bunny - 4/24/96

It's time for a weekend visit from our good friends Dog & Bunny. As you may remember, one of my goals in doing this comic strip was to reference current events that would be forgotten about a week later. This installment of Dog & Bunny lives up to it's mission statement:

All I remember is that Marlon Brando made some anti-Semitic remark on Larry King Live, and some little kid learned to fly a plane!?! That's comedy, my friends!

Papa Smurf's Special Sauce

Friday, September 15, 2006

Diamond Falls? More Like Liar Falls!

A while ago I did a post on TV commercials for Kings Dominion and how they must have been filmed before the ride was built because the actual ride usually looked nothing like the way it was shown in the commercial. The same must have held true for KD's print advertising as well. Here we see an exaggerated preview from the parks brochure of 1985's new ride Diamond Falls. First off, the picture makes it look like you're trekking through the Amazon River or something like that when in reality the ride was a basic chute-the-chutes ride with little themeing built right in the middle of the park. Second, "the surprise at the bottom" was not a cave...nor did it have monsters in it...nor was it a surprise since you could see the entire layout of the ride while waiting in line. After the boat went down the chute, it almost immediately entered a shack-like building where you quickly passed some scenes of skeletons digging for gold. This was not to be confused with the "skeletons digging for gold" tunnel on White Water Canyon or the entire ride of "skeletons digging for gold" called The Haunted River. I guess someone at the King Dominion art department had a thing for skeletons digging for gold..and really, who doesn't!?

I've read that Diamond Falls joins Smurf Mountain and so many other rides in the big amusement park in the sky. They tore it down a while back to make way for The Italian Job Stunt Coaster. I really wanted to make it to Kings Dominion this season but that didn't happen. This Sunday is their last day of regular operation for the season, so unless someone out there wants to go with me Sunday I guess I'll have to wait till next year.

Kings Dominion's owner, Viacom, sold the park (and 5 others) to Cedar Fair LP, the company that owns and runs Cedar Point, Dorney Park and others. Cedar Fair has been running KD most of this season, but it should be interesting to see what changes are made to the park now that it's in the hands of another company. Cedar Fair is an amusement park company not a multi-media corporation like Viacom so hopefully Kings Dominion will be used for more than plugging Paramount movies and CBS and Nickelodeon shows.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Ya Gotta Love Funny Pictures

My wife got one of those e-mails that has probably been forwarded back and forth across the county a half dozen times with some cutesy little poem about "Boys Will Be Boys" and then some funny pictures attached to it. Well, I thought some of the pictures were actually very good so we'll share them with you here at WWOB! Enjoy...

Smells Like Sewell's Orchard

You know how a certain smell can take you back in time to a place you used to visit often. Most people say when that happens they think of their grandparent's house growing up. For myself there are smells that take me back to the old Enchanted Forest amusement park. The other day I encountered a scent that really took me back somewhere but I couldn't figure out where. I thought and though about it...and starting building a mental picture in my head. Eventually it came to me...a little produce store we used to go to all the time when I was little called Sewell's Orchard.

When my family first moved to Columbia, our little development that we lived in was directly across the street from a giant fruit orchard called Sewell's Orchard. If you drove back into the orchard there was a little store that sold your typical farmers market stuff like fruit, veggies, jellies, honey...stuff like that. There also sold little bags of candy and everytime we went my brother and I were allowed to each get a bag of candy. I usually got wax bottles and my brother favored candy dots (the kind you eat off paper.) I hadn't thought of Sewell's Orchard store in years. It's amazing how a smell can unlock so many memories!

Here's a "surprise" twist in the saga of Sewell's Orchard. In the mid-80's the Sewell's sold the land and now it's a huge housing development! Can you believe it!?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The York Fair

The York Fair is running now through September 17. It's not only the country's oldest fair, with the first fair being held in 1765, it also has the distinction of being the country's first fair. It's a great fair, much bigger than the Maryland State Fair...with tons of rides, food and lots of other fun stuff. Look at all the fun we had...

There is so much food to be had at the fair. Elias was excited about cotton candy before we even got there. He got some and he was happy!

Tanner had his first little taste of cotton candy and he liked it as well!

I like taking pictures of food! This is a Fried Twinkie with Strawberry Sauce. The first bite or two was pretty good, but eventually you realize you're eating a Twinkie that has just been deep fried and there is no way in the world this could be good for you!

There's plenty of animals at the fair. Our friend Kourtni who came with us took Elias into the 4-H petting zoo. Elias was thrilled to get the chance to pet and hold a baby bunny.

Elias loves kitties! He was so happy to have a kitty just sit in his lap and let him pet him.

Elias also has a thing for goats!

Tanner was also fascinated by all the animals. He wanted to stick his fingers in every animal mouth he could find!

Jen put on these goggles that made you feel like you were drunk, then she had to walk the white line like a drunk driver. She was all over the place!

What's a visit to the fair without some rides. Elias loves this car ride that he also rode at the beach!

Get Your Erol's On

Before Netflix...before Blockbuster...there was EROL'S! Erol's Video Club was the original giant video store chain. Erol's was a Chicago based electronics store that sold TVs and Stereos. When VCR's hit the market, Erol's offered customers a chance to rent a handful of movies on video. Back then videos cost $100...nobody really bought movies for their home! Next thing you know, the VCR revolutionized the way we watch television and there was an Erol's video store on every other street corner.

Erol's was a fancy video store, and little movie nerd me loved it! First of all they had more movies then 10 regular video stores put together. And they had all kinds of other stuff on tape besides movies. I can remember renting the Go-Go's Live a half a dozen times. Erol's also had a monthly magazine that was delivered to your home. Each month I would gaze at all the movies coming out that I wanted to see but my folks wouldn't take me in the theatre. I used to save the magazines and then when I taped a movie off HBO I would cut out the little picture of the video box and tape it to the box of the tape I just made. I still have some of those tapes!

Another great thing at Erol's was their tapes of movie previews! You could borrow a tape...FOR FREE...of an hours worth of movie trailers. That's some fine viewing in my book! It didn't take long for me to watch all the trailer tapes they had!

What really set Erol's apart from the other videos stores was that the movies came in gigantic red boxes. These boxes were at least three times the size of a regular video tape box. Everytime Erol's got new movies it, the poor Erol's employees would have to cut up the original video boxes and literally paste them onto the huge red Erol's boxes. It was cool to be able to take home the box with the artwork and information on it, but if you rented more than two movies you would need a friend to help you carry the mammoth boxes to the car!

Erol's was eventually bought by Blockbuster. Erol's that were in competition with Blockbusters were closed, other Erol's became Blockbuster. I actually worked at a strange Erol's/Blockbuster hybrid for a while. The store said Erol's on the outside and it looked like an Erol's on the inside. But we wore Blockbuster uniforms and had Blockbuster video boxes. To complicate things even further we accepted both Erol's and Blockbuster membership cards. Oh, you can imagine how crazy it was!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Lt. John Williamson - A 9/11 Memorial

On a serious note today we're taking part in the 2,996 Project, a tribute to all the innocent people that died five years ago today during the terrorist attacks on New York and D.C. Bloggers participating in this event have been given a 9/11 victim to pay tribute to. Here at Wonderful World of Blog we are paying tribute to Lt. John Williamson, a New York City Firefighter from battalion 6 who lost his life at the World Trade Center. Williamson was among the 343 brave firefighters who lost their lives that day trying to save the lives of others. I can't offer you much more information on Lt. John Williamson other than he was from Warwick, NY. But we do know that he, and others like him, were courageous in a time of absolute chaos and his life made a huge difference on September 11, 2001.

Lt. John Williamson
1955 - 2001

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Flea Market Finds - Disneyland Ahoy!

I read a couple of other blogs where every weekend they post pictures of treasures they found at flea markets. Since I'm such an impressionable young blogger I thought I'd do the same as I was able to get out for a couple of hours on my own and visit the flea market this weekend. Whenever I go yard saleing or flea marketing I'm mostly on the lookout for old souvenirs from Walt Disney World as well as Disney records and good deals on children's books. I also have a rule that I never pay more than a few bucks for any one item! I try to stick to my guidelines because it's easy to go crazy and start buying tons of old stuff that you think is "cool" but you really don't have ANY need for! This weekend's flea market excursion was chock full of goodies, not from Disney World but from Disneyland.

Before I made any Disney purchases these magnets caught my eye. I've been on a bit of a Hanna-Barbera kick lately, so I couldn't pass up these puffy magnets of some great old Hanna-Barbera characters. Huckleberry Hound, Peter Potamus, Magilla Gorilla, and Wally Gator were all stars of H-B's great animated shorts of the 1960's, now mine to hang on my refridgerator for years to come! The set also came with doubles of Huck and Wally...anyone wanna trade!? Hanna-Barbera Puffy Magnets: $1

I always leaf my way through the box of kids books. We have a book called THE MICKEY MOUSE BOOK, which is a simple Golden Shape Book that Elias loves! So I was excited to find THE DONALD DUCK BOOK (also from 1964) which is written and illustrated in much the same manner. I also love kids books that use Disneyland or Walt Disney World as the setting. DISNEYLAND PARADE WITH DONALD DUCK is a 1971 Golden Book that features numerous Disney characters and various settings from the Anaheim park. Two Donald Duck books: $1.50.

In the mid-90's when I wasn't paying any attention to toys, Mattel put out quite a bit of great Disney stuff. I've picked up several pieces at yard sales over the last few years. I had to get this toy today because it fit in with the Disneyland theme. I also have a weakness for toys that play Disney music like the Mickey Mouse March instead of the normal baby fare like Twinkle Twinkle! Anywho, the toy features Mickey & the gang playing different instruments. When you push a character, the Mickey Mouse Club March is played on that characters instrument. The charactes are all marching infront of the Disneyland castle and at the end of the song the sky is filled with fireworks. Tanner loves it! Musical Mickey Mouse Toy: $3.00

The real find in my treasure hunting this weekend was these four Happy Meal toys from 1995 celebrating Disneyland's 40 Anniversary. Each of the figures represents an attraction at Disneyland, they each have a small opening in the back that you can look into and see a photograph of that particular attraction. Aladdin riding the elephant is from Aladdin's Oasis, a short lived spot for a meal and a diner show. Peter Pan on his boat is from Fantasmic!, a nightly spectacular show that is put on every night of the year! We've also got King Louie in a Jungle Cruise boat and briar Bear about to go over the falls of Slash Mountain. All of these guys have the name of the attraction on them and the Disneyland 40th Anniversary logo. I already had two from this set, so I might have the whole set now! Disneyland 40th Anniversary Toys: $1.00

Saturday, September 09, 2006

5 Favorite Candies

Believe it or not, I'm not a big candy person. I don't think I really eat all that much candy, but I have as much of a sweet tooth as the next person. There are a few candies that I have a special place for in my heart...and tummy!

Circus Peanuts I know I'm alone on this, these things are universally hated but I love these guys. They are shaped like peanuts, they are orange colored and they are banana-flavored. It's the candy that messes with your mind! They are so good! A bag of these and a new release DVD is a night to cherish!

Cream Egg So good, so creamy! It's a chocolate egg and when you crack it open it looks like a real egg...only it's more candy! How incredible is that!? These puppies are not as easy to find the rest of the year as they are at Easter time, that's what's kept them fresh all these years. The first Cream Egg of the season is as important as flowers blooming in Mother Natures grand circle of life!

Fruit Slices Apparently I have a thing for candy shaped like other foods. Fruit Slices are usually found in those bins where you have to scoop out the candy yourself and they charge you by the pound. And you scoop out what you think is a good amount of candy that's going to get you through the evening or a movie and then you take the bag up to the register and discover that you just scooped yourself $17.61 worth of Fruit Slices. But they are all so yummy!

Bottle Caps These little guys are much like Sweet Tarts, except they are flavored like different sodas. Cola, Root Beer, Cherry Cola, Orange and Grape are the different flavors you'll find inside a package of Bottle Caps. What's more, the sweet tarts are shaped like old fashioned bottle caps. Sweet and bubbly, very tasty! A couple of years ago they started offering Bottle Caps packaged in a roll, like Mentos. They are a little thicker when you get them in the roll, but they are still pretty good!

Sunkist Fruit Gems I've decided that this is my number one favorite candy. Oh my goodness, these are so good! They are kind of like the Fruit Slices, but a little less candy tasting and more flavored like real fruit. The best way to eat them is to bite them in half and then jam your tongue up into the gooey middle of one of the halves! Delightful! Fruit Gems always come individually wrapped, which you think would slow you down from eating too many at once, but you would be wrong. I usually stop eating them when I run out or I can't fit anymore of the little wrappers into my pockets!

Feel free to comment on your favorite candy!
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