Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Lunch on a Train

I love the town of Strasburg, PA. There's all kinds of train related attractions in this little rural community. There's the National Toy Train Museum as well as Choo-Choo Barn - a huge model train display. There's real trains on display at the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum and you can even sleep in a real caboose at the slightly tacky Red Caboose Motel. And of course you can actually ride on a train at the Strasburg Railroad. We've taken the kids to the Starsburg Railroad a few times when Thomas the Tank Engine has pulled into the station to give kids a ride. Earlier this week, we took a delightful ride on the Strasburg Railroad's dining car. Here, you can enjoy a 45-minute ride through the farms of Lancaster County while enjoying a meal in their elligant dining car. Although the menu is somewhat limited, and the prices are a bit "off track", it's a really neat experience. I'm sure it was a nice way to kill an hour or so on one of those cross-county train rides back in the old days. However, back then I'm sure a juice box didn't cost $1.75!

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Land of the Lost Poster

I don't know about this one!?! Land of the Lost was a great show, with it's low budget special effects and below average production values but all too often Hollywood remakes old TV shows and completely ignores the original source material. Can they avoid just making another Journey to the Center of the Earth? the world ready for a Will Ferrell movie that is not about sports and/or the 1970's? I wanna get excited about this one, but something inside me tell me it's gonna stink. I guess we'll have to wait for a trailer...

...and yes, I'm still keeping my fingers crossed for an Electra Woman and Dyna Girl movie! How great would that be?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas `08

The presents are all unwrapped and Santa is back at the North Pole taking a nap and catching up on his TiVo.

One thing about my kids, if you give them an action figure they will play with it non-stop for the rest of the day! They loves them some action figures. Santa brought them a very cool Fisher-Price Batcave which has all kinds of trap doors and cool little features in it. As much as my boys play with figures, they didn't have any really good playsets to play on. The Fisher-Price barnyard toy has been the hideout for all of our Spider-Man, Star Wars, and Happy Meal toys. So the Batcave is a welcome addition to our playroom! Christmas morning Batman and Robin were battling Joker and the Penguin along with the help of some friends from Star Wars, Wall-E, a fire fighter and a Snowman!

Later in the day, the kids Uncle Mike gave them the Spider-Man playset which is also very cool and full of all kinds of neato features. The kids are in the other room playing with all the figures and playsets right now.

Myself, I got some books - like Huge Heffner's biography and the autobiography of Maureen McCormack, you know Marsha Brady! And I got a book from the show "Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives" which I love and the new David Letterman book "Fun Facts", which is hilarious!

In the DVD department I scored the first season of 30 Rock and season one of The Donna Reed Show - easily my favorite old school black and white sitcom. I'm really excited to tear into that! I also got a DVD all about the Haunted Mansion at Knoebel's amusement park. Super Nerdy - and I can't wait to watch it! And I got the Complete Series of The Flintstones - 166 episodes packed onto 27 discs. I should be able to finish it off sometime between now and the end of time!

Joey got Rock Band for the Wii, which I gotta say...even though I only know about 3 songs in the whole game it is a really fun experience! I was jamming on the drums last night till about one in the morning.

We spent Christmas eve at my wife's father's house. Christmas night Jen's mom and the rest of the family came to our house for dinner (and Rock Band). And the day after Christmas we went down to my folks house for dinner and to see the Symphony of Lights over by the Columbia Mall.

I hope ya'll had a great holiday filled with family and friends and some cool gifts! Leave a comment and tell us what ya got!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry 500th Post!

A Very Merry Christmas to you and a Happy 500th Blog Post to Wonderful World of Blog - the internet's leading source for information on Alf, The Flintstones, old breakfast cereals, and tacky things that you can't see or do anymore! It was New Year's Day 2006 that I started this blog and all though I don't update it as frequently as I did back in the day, I still appreciate every single person who stops by and checks out my little space on the web!

I hope you and your loved ones have a Happy Holiday and a joyous New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Watch Yourself, Shortcake!

Wow! Does this really seem appropriate!? This picture of a Strawberry Shortcake puzzle was sent in by our good friend Brian in CA who was out doing some Christmas shopping for his youngin' when he stumbled upon this holiday "delight". Sure, for the most part this picture is wholesome and cute but is a children's puzzle really the right place to do a parody of "Sex in the City"? Odd Choice, don't you think!? Maybe next they'll do "My Little Desperate Pony Housewives"!
One time on Sesame Street, Elmo was watching the "Foot Channel" and the announcer said, "Stay Tuned for Socks in the City." It seems a quick joke like that is ok, but making a toy based on a joke of Sex in the City is a little much! Anyway, what's with Strawberry Shortcakes plastic surgery face!? What ever happened to the good ol' Strawberry Shortcake that used to fight the Peculiar Purple Pie Man of Porcupine Peak and take her dog to the Dog Show in Big Apple City!? Now those were the times!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Very Marley Christmas

My kids love having books read to them, they never pass up an offer to hear a story and two books at bedtime is a must in our routine. Now, I know that don't make my kids special...lots of kids love to be read to. But I noticed recently that my kids don't usually laugh at stories when I read to them. I noticed this because a reading of A Very Marley Christmas elicits many giggles and squeals of delight from both my children.

A couple of weeks ago I plugged the original Bad Dog, Marley! as well as the adult novel which it is based on. And by now, you've probably seen the commercial for the movie version, Marley & Me, which hits theatres Christmas day. A Very Marley Christmas is a new kids picture book that revisits Marley and his humans as they celebrate their first Christmas together. My kids adore this book and hang on my every word as I read it to them. Marley's antics crack them up - from getting tangled up in the outdoor Christmas lights to peeing on the Christmas tree - judging from my children's reaction, this is just about the funniest book ever written.

What's my point? I don't know!? But if you've got a child on your holiday shopping list between the ages of 3 and 10, you can't go wrong with a copy of this jolly holiday tale that's sure to bring some smiles and giggles from the little ones in your life.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My Top 50 Christmas Viewing List

Did you see that lame special on NBC the other night where they counted down the top 25 Holiday moments in TV and Film. First of all, they gave away the ending to several films. They also counted "When Harry Met Sally" as a holiday film...whatever!? Oh, and you can't have "Home Alone" on the list twice! Anywho, I love watching the Christmas specials at this time of year. I've gathered quite a collection of DVD's and videos over the past 20 or so years. Here's my list of the best Christmas specials, films, videos, shows and anything else that I like to watch every holiday season. And no, there's no mistake. I didn't forget "A Christmas Story" or "Rudolph"....sorry, not a big fan of either!

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983)
Ernest Saves Christmas (1988)
Christmas Eve on Seasame Street (1978)
Raggedy Ann & Andy: The Great Santa Claus Caper (1978)
Rich Little's Christmas Carol (1978)
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)
Pluto's Christmas Tree (1952)
Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas (1977)
Mickey's Once Upon A Christmas (1999)
A Pink Christmas (1978)
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
How The Flintstones Saved Christmas (Christmas Flintstone) (1964)
A Chipmunk Christmas (1981)
A Muppet Family Christmas (1987)
ALF's Special Christmas (1987)
Casper's First Christmas (1979)
A Very Brady Christmas (1988)
Yogi's First Christmas (1980)
Smurfs Christmas Special (1982)
Christmas Comes to Pacland (1982)
He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special (1985)
A Claymation Christmas Celebration (1987)
The Little Rascals Christmas Special (1979)
Yogi's All-Star Comedy Christmas Caper (1982)
The Simpsons Christmas Special (1989)
Ziggy's Gift (1982)
It's A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie (2002)
Prancer (1989)
The Bernstain Bears' Christmas Tree (1979)
The Santa Clause (1994)
B.C. A Special Christmas (1981)
How The Grinch Stone Christmas (1966)
Have Yourself A Goofy Little Christmas (1993)
It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown (1992)
Holiday Inn (1942)
Donny & Marie Christmas Show (1978)
Frosty The Snowman (1969)
Mickey's Twice Upon A Christmas (2004)
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Santa's Workshop (1932)
The Night Before Christmas (1933)
A Flintstones Christmas (1977)
The Night Before Christmas (1974)
It's A Wonderful Life (1946)
Bugs Bunny's Looney Christmas Tales (1979)
A Wish For Wings That Work (1991)
A Family Circus Christmas (1979)
Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas (1997)
The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Tanner!

Happy Birthday to Tanner! The little guy turns 3 today! Happy Birthday Chunka-Butt!

Monday, December 08, 2008

8 Christmas Songs I Never Need To Hear Again

Unlike most people nowadays, I'm a big fan of the Christmas Music. I've been listening to the all Christmas music radio station for weeks and I've stocked the CD player in my van with all my holiday goodies. I'm a bigger fan of the old stuff, like Bing and Dean and Frank...but I like new tunes as well. However, there's some recordings that I cringe at the first time I hear them each Christmas and there's some that have just been played to death! Here's a list of eight holiday tracks I don't need to deck my hall with anymore...

1) "Santa Claus is Coming To Town" by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band For the holy love of the little baby Jesus, would they stop playing this song! Why on earth have radio stations adopted this tune as the Single Most overplayed holiday ditty!? I swear on the North Pole telephone directory, you can't go 20 minutes in the months of November and December without hearing this song. Go ahead, put the radio on to one of those Christmas stations and I guarantee you'll hear it by the time you're finished reading this list.

2)"Wonderful Christmastime" by Paul McCartney Seriously, is this not like the worst song EVER recorded!? The only thing more terrible this Paul McCartney warbling this song is when somebody else tries to record it.

3) "Do They Know It's Christmastime?" by Band Aid I kid you not, hearing this song makes me wish Christmas time was over! I can hear it on November 14 and wish it was January 3rd all ready! Honestly, just an awful, awful song! I don't even know what it's about because I can't listen to it all the way through!

4) "The Christmas Shoes" by Anyone Who Sings It Can a song more obviously just go straight for your heart strings? This tune about a kid's dying mom on Christmas eve is so forcefully set-up to make you go "awwww, that's the saddest thing ever" that it should be offensive to anyone who's ever died! Seriously, what a steaming pile of crap! Also, the book and movie of the same name can burn on the yule log as well!

5) "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" by John Mellencamp As with the rest of the John Mellencamp/John Cougar Mellencamp catalog, does anyone really need to hear this song again? Just about played to death from the moment the first copy came off the CD press! For Christmas, I'd like to see all of John Cougar Mellencamp's music buried into the ground for 50 years. Then in 2058, we can dig them up and see if anyone really wants to move forward with listening to those CD's for the rest of eternity!

6) "Winter Wonderland" by Eurythmics This is an utterly soul-less, unimaginative 3 1/2 minutes of Christmas music that seems to be the first holiday song ya hear every season and about the every fourth song you'll hear for the rest of the year. This song makes me want to bury myself in the ground and not come up until around Groundhog Day.

7) "Last Christmas" by Wham Everytime this song comes on the radio, I turn it up thinking it's some great 80's classic and then quickly remember it's this boring snoozefest of a song! George Michael should stick to picking up male prostitutes and leaving the Christmas songs to somebody else.

8) Anything by the Trans Siberian Orchestra First of all, the Trans Siberian Orchestra is a total knock-off of Mannheim Steamroller. Second of all, it's devil music disguised as Christmas music and third, the only thing their music is good for is syncing a Christmas light display to it. And that's been done to death allready so go back to Trans Siberia, Trans Siberian Orchestra. You country or town...or whatever needs their culture back!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Exit, Stage Left Even!

He doesn't get a whole lot of mention here at WWoB, but seriously, one of my all-time favorite cartoon characters; and probably in my top 3 of Hanna-Barbera characters is Snagglepuss. The pink mountain lion debuted in 1960 as backup player to the popular Yogi Bear on The Yogi Bear Show. As with the majority of the H-B gang, Snagglepuss has been laying kinda low lately. However, the folks at Saturday Night Live haven't forgeten him as Snagglepuss was featured on Weekend Update a few weeks ago. Of course, I always love when they do a classic cartoon character send-up on SNL, especially if it's not vular. Although this bit does question Snagglepuss' sexuality, it's all done in good fun. And as an added bonus, there's a great Flintstones reference at the end of this bit.

Oh by the way, this video is courtesy of so I'm sure it will be bookended with commercials. On that note....Enjoy it EVEN!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Flintstones - In Polish

When I die, scinentists will study my brain to see what makes a human being look for things on YouTube like the theme song to The Flintstones in Polish:

Monday, November 24, 2008

Let's Talk About Jen

My friend Amy did something like this on her blog and I thought I'd steal the whole idea and do it over here. Like this blog here, Amy always talks about her kids but not so much her spouse. Here at WWoB, we talk alot about the well as the Smurfs and Alf, but I don't mention my wife Jen all that much. So here's a little prefabricated questionnaire about "your husband" that I switched to "your wife!"

1. She's sitting in front of the TV, what's on?
Some chick show like Sex and the City, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy or Days of Our Lives.

2. You're out to eat; what kind of salad dressing does she get on her salad?
Light Italian

3. What's one food she doesn't like?

4. You go out to a bar, what does she order?
Tom Collins or a Cosmopolitan if she's in a Sex in the City mood

5. Where did she go to High School?
I think it was called North Carroll High, but it might be Westminster High or something like that.

6. What size shoe does she wear?
I have no idea, but there's 50 pairs upstairs that will give me the answer.

7. If she was to collect anything, what would it be?
Panda Bears

8. What is her favorite type of sandwich?
I'd go with either Peanut Butter & Jelly or Chicken Salad

9. What would she eat everyday if she could?
Taco Bell combo #6: Two Beef Supreme Chalupas, a soft taco and a Diet Pepsi.

10. What is her favorite cereal?
Rice Krispies with fruit on top

11. What would she never wear?
A black t-shirt from a concert

12. What is her favorite sports team?
Like me, she couldn't care less about sports

13. Who did she vote for?
She picked a winner!

14. Who is her best friend?
Me ( she claims!)

15. What is something you do that she wishes you wouldn't do?
Leave laundry all over the bedroom

16. How many states has she lived in?
Three...PA, MD, NY

17. What is her heritage?
I believe she's got some German in there.

18. You bake a cake for her birthday, what would it be?
I'd go with a Strawberry Shortcake

19. Did she play sports in high school?

20. What could she spend hours doing?
Shopping without the kids, sleeping, get on my case about things I haven't done around the house

21. What's something cool about her?
She gets me. She knows we're going to buy a cereal if the prize is good, even if no one in the house is ever going to eat the cereal.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Marley & Me & Me

One of my little mini-goals in life is to select a book and read it before it is made into a movie. That's not likely to happen since I mostly read non-fiction books about tacky tourist attractions and biographies of Walt Disney. It doesn't count if I read the book knowing they are making a movie of it, like I did with Striptease, and I think we'll all agree that The Cat in the Hat doesn't count either. But thanks to a new movie with Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston, I've come kind of close to meeting my goal.

A few years ago while selecting storybooks for my kids, I picked up a book called Bad Dog, Marley! It's a picture book about a family that adopts a dog and he turns out to be a little too much for them to handle. I thought the book was above average and the kids really enjoyed it and we ended up checking it out of the library a handful of times. Then one Christmas somebody gave us a copy and the story then entered into a permanent rotation in our bedtime story lineup.

I decided to see if the author, John Grogan, had written any other books. It turns out, the book we had been reading was a kiddie version of an adult non-fiction novel called "Marley & Me: Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog." There was also a junior novelization of the novel. I picked up the junior novelization and planned to read it aloud to Elias while Tanner was taking his naps. (*minor spoiler alert) While leafing through the book I noticed a caption under a picture that read "One of the last pictures we took of Marley". It sounded like that book was not going to have a happy ending so I passed on reading it to Elias.

I later picked up the full length version of the book and read it at the beach this past summer. It's a very entertaining tale of a young couple who adopts a puppy which quickly grows up to become one crazy dog. I'm not that fond of dogs...or animals in general for that matter...but I found the book to be a really good read.

Anywho...sometime shortly before I picked up the original novel, it was announced that there was to be a major motion picture based on the book Marley & Me. There's been a teaser trailer out for a while, and the studio just released a full trailer with clips from the film. I gotta say, every clip in the trailer is from a scene in the book. It looks like it's going to be a good film. The kids are excited to see it....and YES, I have prepared them for the possible ending!

Here's the new trailer:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's Good To Be A Smurf

My wife and I were doing some Christmas shopping at Toys 'R' Us (sorry, I don't have a backwards "R" key on my computer). As we were looking over the various Star Wars, Spider Man and Indiana Jones toys, who should be starring back at us but none other than a Smurf! Right here, in the year 2008...a Smurf toy sits on the shelf of a major department store! Can you believe it!??? Can you SMURF it? They've got three new Smurf friends out this holiday season in all their plush glory. There's this regular Smurf and there is also available Papa Smurf and Smurfette. Each of the little blue friends comes with a DVD of one of their Saturday morning adventures. How cool is that? And yes, one of my kids will be finding three-apples-high of goodness under the tree this holiday season.

So if that wasn't Smurfy enough, I find out on the internets that a brand new Smurf balloon will be debuting in this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. That's super cool! Why all the love for the Smurfs? Did you think they went away years ago!? It turns out The Smurfs are celebrating their 50th Anniversary this year. Now that doesn't really mean anything to America, because we didn't get exposed to The Smurfs until the early 80's. But good times none the less! In these hard economic times everyone could use a little Smurf action!

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Real Swinger

We've had a swing set in our backyard since the spring of 2005. It has been since then that I have tried to teach Elias how to swing while "pumping" with his legs so he does not need to rely on me for pushes. Every lesson has ended with one of us becoming incredibly frustrated. Earlier this week, I peek outback to check up on the kids and there's Elias swinging as high as can be - all by himself! I know it's not a big deal, but I was so happy that he finally had mastered this simple skill of childhood that I grabbed the camera to record it on video. Take a look:

Monday, November 10, 2008

9 Out of 10 Ain't Bad

Of the nine feature films Pixar Animation has produced The Incredibles is the only one that I haven't really cared for. It looks like their next project Up is going to be another entry into the list of their films I love. Here's the trailer for next summer's looks really cool:

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Killing Fake Elephants

Here's another game I rented...

You know that arcade game where you shoot the deer!? I would never go hunting in a million years in real life - I don't see how taking innocent lives is a sport - but I'll shoot anything in a make believe video game. But in that arcade game you only get like three shots for one dollar to shoot the darn animal. So, I was would be cool to get that on the Wii and then I could play it all night without pumping quarters into the machine and maybe actually score some points. So I go to the video store to see if I can rent such a game and I find Cabela's Big Game Hunter sitting on the shelf. Not only do you shoot deer in the game but there is also the promise of shooting bears and mountain lions, plus there's a picture on the back of the box of some dude shooting an elephant from the back of his safari jeep. OK, I'm in!

So, I get this game home and fire up the ol' Wii. My first mission in the game is to climb up a tree stand and shoot some deer with a telescopic lens on my riffle. Done! Next, I'm supposed to track down and kill 6 of some animal I've never heard of by scoping out the forest for the animals tracks and urine scent. What??? While you're running your little hunter dude around the woods, there is a little graphic that comes up on the screen that tells you how fresh the urine scent is. I need that much realism? I just wanted to shoot some animals. Even when I found fresh animal pee-pee, I didn't know what I was supposed to do with the information.

I tried another level where I ran around a mountain side for the better part of 40 minutes before I found some other hunter who told me to go shoot some ducks. I was actually able to pick off 6 mallard ducks standing on the banks of a river. I was then awarded a new gun to use in the game. It was at that point that I realized there are about 4,000 guns, gadgets and other items that you can unlock and use in the game. Included among them were your own bottles of urine scent to lure animals out into the open. It was also at this point that I decided I was in way over my head with the particular video game. I returned to the mountain side and ran around for another handful of minutes before I was savagely attacked and killed by a giant brown bear.

Friday, November 07, 2008

What's For Lunch - 11/08

I have a feeling that my son's monthly school lunch menu won't be providing us with laughs for much longer. Three months into the school year and it seems they've pretty much exhausted their entire lineup of meals to serve. But...there are a couple of strange and funny items on the November schedule:

  • Fish Shape w/Dinner Roll My question: Is it fish shaped like something or is it something shaped like fish!?
  • Cook's Choice is Hot Dog on Bun Wow Chef! Did you stay up all night coming up with that one? A+ for originality! Wait...on a bun!? Did you see that on Food Network or something!?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Easier Than Building Your Own Plinko Board

I'm a pretty big fan of video game adaptations of television game shows. I've played them all...from Hollywood Squares and Remote Control for the NES to Jeopardy! and The Weakest Link on Playstation...I've sampled quite a collection of these game show home versions. I enjoy their simple slow-paced game play based on skills not usually associated with video games. So I was pretty excited when I saw that The Price Is Right was headed for the Wii.

My excitement paid off. Wii's version of The Price is Right is a welcome addition to the world of video games based on game shows. The new game is a faithful reproduction of the classic game show. The Wii's unique controls make a nice match with TPIR's assortment of pricing games. Not to mention, all the sights, sounds, and music of the original show are captured perfectly.

First, you've got Contestant's Row, where you get your first bid in on some fabulous prizes. Right away, this is where TPIR sets itself apart from game show video games before it. Actual footage from the TV show is used to display the various items you'll be bidding on. In previous games, prizes were usually represented with a generic prize but here you get full video and real life prizes to bid on. Everything from specific cars to a snack side pack of Chips Ahoy cookies are all represented here. It's a nice touch. And on Contestant's Row you can even pull that bull crap where you bid one dollar more than someone else's bid. I swear if I was ever on that show for real and someone did that to me I'd knock their block off!

A good number of the pricing games that make up the bulk of an episode of TPIR are represented here as well. Yes, there's Plinko! And yes, the real greatest game of the show know, the little mountain climber guy. That game is the bomb! There's a bunch of other ones too like Hole in One, and the one where you've got to find the front and back end of the car. Oh, and that one where you gotta run around and put the prices on everything and then check the clock to see how many you've got right and then go back and fix the prices. It's a lot less exhausting, I'm sure, playing that on the Wii then doing it for real.

They've got the big wheel in the middle of the show. You spin the wheel by grabbing on to it with the Wii remote and then virtually giving the wheel a spin. Nice Touch! There's also the Showcase Showdown if you can get to it, with two sets of fabulous prizes that you can pass or bid on.

In case you were wondering, you do not actually win real prizes playing this game. Money does not come out of you Wii, nor will a new car be delivered to your home. I know this because of the disclaimer at the beginning of the game that lets you know that the video game version is for "entertainment purposes only" and no real prizes or money will be awarded. Wow! Have we really come to that point in society where such a disclaimer is needed? That means one of two things: either somebody threatened to sue a video game company because money and prizes were not awarded to them, or I'm owed $750,000 from my home version of Deal or No Deal!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Watch ALF or You Are Stupid

One of the MANY problems with television today is that good old fashioned reruns are becoming a thing of the past. Oh sure, there's still plenty of reruns on TV at any hour of the day but you'll find the majority of them are shows from the last decade or so. Ya got The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on 14 different stations, you got Scrubs on 15 more channels, and why on earth is Becker on non-stop from 11pm till 5am? I'd love to turn on my TV and find Family Ties waiting for me or Alice, or It's A Living or how about some mother-lovin' Gimme A Break? Well, cable outlet WGN America is doing everyone a solid and they've got some good old school reruns in their lineup this season.

And not just any ol' reruns, mind you, but one of the finest sitcoms to come from the wonderful world of television of all time. That's right, it's my good buddy ALF! Now, yes I've got all four seasons of this fantastic television program on DVD and I can watch them whenever I please, but it's nice to have the ol' ALF'er back on the airwaves. I don't think ALF (1986-1990) has been broadcast on a national level since the old Odyssey network back in 1999. So it's great to have the fuzzy alien back on TV...even on his original night - Monday, at 8pm EST for a full hour, and then both episodes are rerun the following Sunday at 6pm EST.

Then get ready to sink your teeth into Newhart. Bob Newhart's 1982-1990 sitcom about a bed and breakfast in Vermont is seriously one of the wittiest sitcoms from the 80's. The cast and the writing is impeccable in every single episode. It's a great show that I haven't seen aired since Nick at Nite played it in the mid-90's. WGN America is running a full hour on Sunday nights at 8:00 pm EST. Good stuff, check it out!
WGN America is also the only place where you can see local favorite Homicide: Life on the Street weekdays at 2:00pm and you can see actual honest-to-goodness black and white television with back to back episodes of The Honeymooners Sunday nights at 9 pm EST.
If you don't know where WGN America is on your cable line up, scroll through the TV Guide listings and keep an eye open.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Charlie Brown Beyond the Holidays

When you think of Charlie Brown and the Peanuts you probably don't think of "stories". In fact, the problem is most people associate Charlie Brown and Snoopy with Halloween and Christmas and that's about it. When I was younger, I read lots and lots of Peanuts books. I pretty much read anything I could get my hands on. I read compilations of the daily comic strip and I read book versions of the numerous television specials. While the daily strip provided a laugh every day, if you read everyday or read them collected in book you'd find great stories being told like the time Lucy buried Linus' blanket in the backyard and Linus dug up the whole neighborhood looking for it. The animated Peanuts television specials offered a more narrative venue for Snoopy and the gang. While I love the holiday specials, I'm equally as fond of a number of the animated half-hours that didn't have anything to do with a holiday. Sadly, most of these specials have fallen through the cracks and haven't been seen on television in decades, yet alone a DVD release.

So I couldn't be more excited for January 29, 2009 when You're A Good Sport, Charlie Brown breaks the mold and becomes one of the first non-holiday releases from the Peanuts Vault (which is located in Snoopy's dog house, of course). This awesome 1975 tale tells the story of when Charlie Brown and Peppermint Patty enter a motocross race against a mysterious challenger known only as The Masked Marvel. If you don't all ready know, look at the DVD cover art pictured here and you can probably guess who the Masked Marvel is! (I love this show so much is was even mentioned in a 1998 episode of The Ed South Show.) And if adding this great show wasn't cool enough for my DVD library, the disc also sports You're The Greatest, Charlie Brown. This is an equally awesome Peanuts outing which debuted in 1979 and has Charlie Brown entering a Decathlon in the Junior Olympics. Can-Not-Wait-my friends! Don't be a lame grown-up...this is an hour of solid television entertainment you should reconnect with!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

First Homework Assignment

This one is a little late...but a couple of weeks ago Elias had his first homework assignment from Kindergarten. He was to make a book about leaves changing colors. He took it very serious and did a really good job with it. I know this might not mean anything to most of you out there, but to me it was a special moment - the first time my son and I worked on school work together.

Here's his masterpiece, soon to be on the New York Times Bestersellers list:

I helped a little...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Still The Greatest Ride Ever

If you want to hear me drone on for endless hours about something then just bring up the old Hanna-Barbera ride at Universal Studios in Orlando. In fact, I went into great detail about the ride a couple of years ago in a rather lenghty post here on WWoB. For those of you not in the know, the Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera ride was a motion-simulator style ride where guests boarded little spaceships to help Yogi Bear and Boo-Boo find Elroy Jetson while traveling through the worlds of The Flintsones, Scooby-Doo, and The Jetsons. I swear, I've never smiled harder than when I was on that ride.

Universal Studios decided to replace this awesome ride with some lame attraction staring Jimmy Neutron. (Let me just point out that Jimmy Neutron is already done and over with while the Hanna-Barbera characters remain treasured icons of American pop culture). However, now thanks to the wonders of YouTube we can all experience the complete awesomeness of this ride. I found this video of the film used in the attraction. This isn't someone's home video recording, this is a copy of the actual film. Enjoy and feel free to move your chair around while watching this film...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Three Screen Memories

I have alot of great memories of a variety of different movie theatres that I frequented in my younger years. We were never ones to just go to the same theatre everytime we went to the movies but there are three theatres that stick out in my mind as the most memorable.

First was the awesome Westview Cinemas on Rt. 40 in Catonsville, Maryland. This was a giant theatre with a beautiful lobby and a very dated look inside. It had a low-tech snackbar that offered all the movie theatre staples at somewhat reasonable prices. Their theatre #5 was just about the most awesome place to see a movie. It was a huge auditorium with a giant curved widescreen that sat behind a curtain. The sound system was fantastic, and I would often go see whatever movie was playing in #5 just because the presentation was so good. The theatre went out of business in 1997. The last film I saw there was the first Austin Powers movie.

Second, was the Lowes Columbia Palace 9. This theatre opened when I was in the 8th grade, and I can remember going there for the first time - my mom took my brother and I and my friend Roy to see The Three Amigos. Good Stuff. It's probably the theatre I've been to the most. When I was in high school my friend Jason and I would end up at Palace 9 at least once a week. Sometimes, on a weekend, we would easily catch 2 to 3 shows for the price of one. They ended up tearing down this piece of my childhood to make way for a Giant Food in 2001. Last movie I saw there was Remember the Titans.

And last we had the General Cinema Columbia City III which sat in downtown Columbia since 1972 across the street from the mall. My earliest movie going memories are from this theatre including my first movie ever: Once Upon a Time (a 1976 German animated film that we must have seen in a re-release or kiddie matinee) And I can totally remember back to 1981 and me standing in the theatre all by myself watching the final credits of The Great Muppet Caper and getting the bonus joke all the way at the end of the movie. I also saw my first Police Academy in the theatre was #5: Assignment Miami Beach and in high school I cut summer school to ride my bike to the theatre to see Jetsons The Movie on opening day. Alot of great memories at this theatre which was apparently torn down in 2000. I'm not sure what the last movie I saw there was, but I'm guessing it was Jane Austin's Mafia!

Anywho...the point of all this is...for anyone who frequented the Columbia City III back in the day, or if you had a General Cinema in your hometown: here's a great little video I found on
YouTube the other night. It's an 8-minute package of all the old film elements used before the movies at General Cinemas. The goes from the 60's to the 90's. It's awesome! Enjoy....

Sunday, October 12, 2008

He Sure Plays A Mean Pinball

I've always wanted to go to a Coin-op Show, where people buy and sell coin-operated amusement machines. I would love to own a coin-op kiddie ride and I think it would be cool to get one while I've got little kids who could enjoy riding on it. Well, today I made it to The White Rose Game Room Show which was kind of what I was looking for but it was mostly pinball machines. It was still cool, because I've always enjoyed pinball not only as a game but some of the machines are real works of pop art. The main attraction at this show was the main room which was made up of hundreds of pinball machines that you could play without quarters. Your admission to the show included unlimited play on tons of pinballs, a few video games, and other electronic wonders. It was a real blast playing some of the older machines from the 60's and 70's with their mechanical sounds and bells and low-tech game play. Of course, I brought alone the ol' WWOB camera and took a few photos for ya'll...

Great machine from the 60's with some nice bikini girl artwork.

This Power Play machine has a great red, white and blue color scheme that screams mid-70's!

I started to play this machine but then the game went on for too long and it didn't make any sense and...oh yeah, the movie Waterworld sucked!

Sadly, the machine did not feature the voice of Mr. Bill Shatner

Before she owned an amusement park, Dolly Parton was a pinball table.

Take a look at some more of my pictures at the WWoB Photo Album.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Top 10 Dog Movies

I gotta say that I was rather disappointed with Beverly Hills Chihuahua. When the first trailer popped up online a few months ago I was instantly sold. It was a minute and a half clip of thousands of CG-chihuahuas dancing and singing an ode to themselves amidst ancient ruins. I had no idea what this movie could possibly be and why it was called Beverly Hill Chihuahua but I was ready to clear some room in my all time Top 10 Favorite Movies and make way for this musical canine escapade.

It was about an hour into BHC that I realized: not only have we not seen the musical number from the trailer but this movie has NOTHING to do with what was in the trailer! The movie is a pretty standard dog gets lost story. People try to find the dog, there's some other dogs that get involved, they all have adventures, they are all reunited at the end. It's not bad and it had some funny moments...the kids sure loved it. But...where was my big Mayan Pyramid musical number? Near the end of the film, the Beverly Hills Chihuahua and her associates do meet up with the dogs that were singing and dancing in the trailer. The scene builds and builds, and I was on the edge of my seat ready for the payoff of that big musical number...but alas, it never comes!

Beverly Hills Chihuahua isn't a bad movie, but like so many other movies today it just isn't that spectacular either. However...if you're in the mood for a good dog flick - Here's my Top Ten List of Favorite Dog Films:

#10 - Rover Dangerfield (1991) Offbeat animated tale of Rodney Dangerfield in dog form! He still gets no respect as a dog either. This cartoon movie, which went direct to video, is appropriate for the kids but has plenty of trademark Dangerfield comedy to keep anyone entertained.

#9 - Oh! Heavenly Dog (1980) Get this, for what is possibly one of the greatest ideas in movie history: Chevy Chase is a detective who gets murdered, he goes to Heaven and is given a chance to solve his own murder and is sent back to Earth as a dog - played by Benji. It's brilliant, I tell you!

#8 - Turner & Hooch (1989) This is one of the old Tom Hanks' last roles before he became Mr. Hollywood "I Only Do Mega-Blockbusters" Hanks. Here, pre-AIDS and Gump Hanks is a cop who gets charged with protecting a big mean bull dog who is a witness to a murder. Comedy gold, my friends. Not to mention a great supporting performance by a one Mr. Craig T. Nelson.

#7 - Snoopy Come Home (1972) Most of the time Snoopy is just like one of the kids, but other times his role is that of a traditional dog. In this second Peanuts big screen outing, Snoopy leaves Charlie Brown in search of his original owner who is now sick in a hospital. It features music from Disney's legendary Sherman Brothers including the catchy number "No Dogs Allowed".

#6 - Look Who's Talking Now (1993) So they made two of these movies with the babies talking and then they go for the third and have the dogs talking. They uninspiredly cast the dogs voices as Danny DeVito and Diane Keaton...really...that's the best you could do? You know works. I don't know why I like this movie but it works for me. Just like Tom Hanks from earlier in my list, John Travolta wouldn't be caught dead doing this kind of movie now.

#5 - Beethoven (1992) I remember when the trailer for this movie first came out and I was like "WHAT!? Are you serious!? A dog that's really big is the basis of a movie!?" I stayed away from this one for a while and then I popped it one day when working at a video store and laughed my butt off. There's some good stuff in this picture. Big dogs are funny!

#4 - Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993) This is from the "animals don't need to move their mouths to speak to one another" school of dog films. Here, two dogs and a cat get lost in the wilderness and have to find their way home. You might as well stab me in the heart with a rusty trident, the end of this flick gets me in the soft spot every time. I cry like a three year old girl who's just lost her dolly.

#3 - The Shaggy D.A. (1976) Bob Howdy, I love this movie. This is a sequel to the Disney classic The Shaggy Dog, but here we've got Dean Jones running for district attorney and wouldn't ya know it - he keeps turning into a dog at all the wrong times. Throw in Tim Conway as the neighborhood ice cream man and you've got solid comedy!

#2 - Lady and the Tramp (1955) Pure Disney classic animation. If you don't like this movie there's no hope for you!

#1 - C.H.O.M.P.S (1979) Robot dogs! Seriously, need I say more!? This inventor guy creates the ultimate home security system in the form of a robotic dog. So many great people are in this movie like Red Buttons and Mr. Drummond from Different Strokes. This was also the only live-action theatrical film produced by Hanna-Barbera. So you know it's gotta be special. When I was younger I easily watched this movie over 100 times!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

What's For Lunch? 10/08

Here's our monthly list of items from the local school district's cafeteria menu that one might consider odd, weird or just plain ...what?

  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Pizza Wedge
  • Egg Sandwich
  • Egg Item Biscuit - yum!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Somebody Stole My Destiny

As silly as it sounds, I've always imagined that I'd someday, somehow end up in Hollywood making movies and television and my one greatest contribution to the world of classic...the film I would be best remembered for is my live-action Yogi Bear movie. My Yogi Bear epic would be filmed entirely indoors with a giant two dimensional forest being constructed on one of Hollywood's mid-sized sound stages. My cast would include none other than my favorite actor, Stuart Pankin, in the role of Ranger Smith along with several big name stars in supporting roles. What would make my Yogi Bear vision a true masterpiece would be that Yogi Bear (and the other talking animal characters) would be portrayed by actors in costumes. And not some state-of-the-art realistic looking costume with a mechanical head that is capable of making 47 different facial expressions, my Yogi Bear movie would employ the same kind of costumes that you'd find at an amusement park or better yet, on any 1970's live-action kids show. Needless to say, this film would be a masterpiece and a huge hit.

And now, my dreams are shattered as Warner Bros. announced today that they are moving forward with a Yogi Bear feature film. Here's the newswire report:

Yogi, Boo-Boo ready for their close-ups By Steven Zeitchik
Thu Oct 2, 8:46 AM ET

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Warner Bros. is taking a trip to Jellystone Park.

The studio is developing a feature version of "Yogi Bear," the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon. "Surf's Up" co-helmer/co-writer Ash Brannon will direct the film.

Joshua Sternin and Jeffrey Ventimilia, who executive produced "That '70s Show" and are writing the feature "Tooth Fairy" for Fox, are penning the screenplay.

The project, culled from Warners' vast library, is planned as a live-action/animated hybrid along the lines of Fox's 2007 hit "Alvin & the Chipmunks." Much of the movie will be live action, but Yogi Bear and sidekick Boo Boo will be done in CG animation.

Yogi Bear first appeared as a supporting character in 1958 in another classic cartoon, "The Huckleberry Hound Show." In 1961, he got his own show, which has aired in reruns frequently over the past half-century.

Yogi's exploits take place in Jellystone Park, where he and Boo Boo get into good-natured mischief and must elude their nemesis, Ranger Smith.

Brannon has worked on such Pixar hits as "Toy Story 2" and "A Bug's Life."

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

I haven't had any phone calls yet asking me to participate in the film...but I guess it's early still!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Yeah, I Made It

The problem with me cooking dinner is that I'm so proud of my accomplish- ment that I have to show it off to everybody. Last night, I whipped up this tasty little number for the family: a little creation of mine called Honey Kissed Black Pepper Mesquite Chicken with a side of Corn & Pepper Orzo...made from scratch, thank you very much!

The chicken I simply marinated in a mesquite grilling sauce but then when I went to dash on a little pepper I unscrewed the cap to the pepper instead of using the sprinkle top with the holes and I ended up dumping about a half of cup worth of pepper all over the marinated chicken. I tried to scrape off the pepper but it was on there pretty good. I decided to cover up/off-set the pepper explosion by adding some honey to the recipe. In the end, it tasted good but the pepper was strong. We polished off a whole pitcher of beverage while eating it.

The Corn & Pepper Orzo I made from scratch using a recipe from Taste of Home magazine. I don't usually make things like that but the picture in the magazine looked good and there were no hard steps or unusual ingredients. Basically, I chopped up an onion and a red pepper, sauteed them up with some corn, threw in the orzo and a few spices...we were good to go! Good Eats!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ten Movies I've Always Wanted To See

I got this idea from another blog and an e-mail that is going around...

Here's a list of ten movies that I've wanted to see for quite some time and for one reason or another I have yet to manage sitting down and watching them. With movie channels, video stores, Netflix and the internet - there's really no good reason why I haven't been able to catch some of these flicks in the past decade or so.

Citizen Kane (1941) It's considered in most circles to be the greatest American movie of all time. Although I usually prefer movies with talking animals, I really would like to catch Orson Welles' masterpiece about newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane. I guess with no talking cats or musical numbers I've never really been propelled to make the time to watch it.

High Noon (1952) I loves me a good western and this Gary Cooper classic is supposed to be one of the best. I've rented the video before and I've even TiVo'ed it off Turner Classic Movies a couple of times and yet I can't seem to watch it before the video is due back or my TiVo bumps it off in favor of a Simple Life rerun.

Godzilla (1954) The sad thing is I've seen tons of Japanese giant monster movies but I've never seen the grandaddy of all. I've seen Mothra and Ghidorah the three- headed monster. Recently, I saw one with a giant radioactive turtle that was pretty good. Hey, I even saw Godzilla 2000 in the theatre! I once bought the VHS of Godzilla, never watched it, and then gave it to someone when I moved once. Netflix doesn't have a copy but I found one at a video store that I plan on renting soon...I think the kids will like it.

Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) I really do wanna see this one. I'm a big fan of director Blake Edwards, having seen all The Pink Panther films plus he directed one of my all-time favorite movies Blind Date. Tiffany's is the big classic that really put Edwards on the map. I guess I just forget about this one and haven't made an attempt to get a copy and watch it. But I do have it on my Netflix queue...somewhere in the upper 100's, but I'll get to it one day!

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) This comedy classic has about 50 big-time movie stars all making a mad dash to find a hidden stash of stolen money. It's been copied a bunch of times - Scavenger Hunt, Million Dollar Mystery, Rat Race - and I've loved them all. I'm sure the biggest reason I've never seen ...Mad, Mad World is the running time. There are few different cuts of the film floating around out there, but for the most part the movie clocks in at over three hours long. I haven't been able to stay awake for three hours at a time since I was 15 years old. I guess I could watch it over two or three nights but I don't roll like that!

The Birds (1963) What's wrong with me that I haven't seen one of Hitchcock's most popular movies!? I love Alfred Hitchcock and have truly seen most of his films. I even been fortunate enough to have seen most of them for the first time in a theatre. But The Birds has always escaped me. I'm not proud to say that I've even seen the horrible 1994 made-for-Showtime movie The Birds II: Land's End. Alfred is rolling over in his grave.

The Three Lives of Thomasina (1964) Never heard of it? It's a Disney movie about the kids from Mary Poppins and they get a cat. Why is it on my list? My grandmother gave me a bunch of Disney videos way back in 1992. I still have all the videos she gave me, but I've never watched this one. All I have to do is reach over to my shelf of Disney videos, grab it and pop it in yet I've never done it. Some day, Thomasina. Some day.

A Hard Day's Night (1964) One of my all-time favorite movies is Spice World, which is a fictional account of a week in the life of the Spice Girls before a big concert. This Beatles movie follows a fictional day in the life of the Fab Four before a big concert. I've read many times that Hard Day's Night was the inspiration for the Spice Girls film and it's been on my radar for quite sometime but like all the others here...I just haven't gotten around to seeing it.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) Actually, I haven't ALWAYS wanted to see this movie. I didn't even know Indiana Jones was "a thing" until high school when the third movie came out and everybody went crazy about it. I took my son to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull this summer and we had a good time. Seeing as how my little film buff protege is obsessed with all things Indiana Jones, I'm sure it won't be long until I finally see this 27-year old modern classic.

Porky's II: The Next Day (1983) T&A comedies are one of my favorite genres. I've seen a million of them. Not because I'm a perv, but because they're all dumb and silly and that's what I'm usually in the mood for when I watch a movie. I've seen countless rip-off's of Porky's yet I've only seen actual Porky's once and I've never made it to this sequel. If I ever see it, I can replace it on my list with 1985's Porky's Revenge.

Make a list of movie's you've always wanted to see. (It doesn't have to add up to 10) Leave it in our comment box, e-mail us, or post it on your own web. Good times!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

New Beds For Everyone

This weekend was Operation: Bunkbed. We bought a set of bunkbeds from somebody at Jen's work. We hardly ever use Tanner's room and the kids were really excited about the idea of a bunkbed so we figured this might be a step in the right direction as far getting the most out of the space in our home. We need some office/grown up space in our house, so maybe soon we can eliminate Tanner's bedroom and then have a playroom and a separate office space.

Saturday we borrowed a truck from my in-laws and picked up the bed which had been taken apart. On the way back home we also had to stop and buy two new mattresses. The people we bought the bed from did a real nice job of keeping track of which piece went where and with that screws and bolts and drew us several diagrams and directions on how the bed should be put back together. Of course, without the actual instruction booklet I was a little bit on my own as far as where to start and what to do next but within two hours I had the bed together and ready for the approval of the little ones.

There was some fighting over who was going to get the top bunk, but international laws state that in a situation like that the older sibling gets first choice. So, Elias is on the top and Tanner is on the bottom bunk. Shortly after getting the beds put together, Elias and Tanner were due over at their grandparents house for an evening of Mario Kart Wii with their cousins. After a quiet, child-free diner at a new Italian place nearby, Jen and I ducked into Wal-Mart and dropped a chunk of change outfitting the new beds. The boys were very excited when they got home and found...

...a Batman bed up top for Elias...

...and a cozy Wall-E bed waiting for Tanner underneath.

I'm proud to say the kids took to the idea of bunkbeds real well and they both stayed quiet and went right to sleep. So far, (knock on it's only 9:30pm as I write this) we've had no problems!

And we should also mention, that after two years and nine months in a crib this was Tanner's first night in a big boy bed!

He's been climbing out of his crib for about a month now so it was time he moved on anyway!

Update: Both the boys slept through the night in their own bed. No problems the whole night, what-so-ever!
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