Sunday, June 9, 2013

Believe It...or Not! - Just realized I'm in my very own WABAC machine...

My house isn't filled with countless gears, buttons, switches, or blinking lights, but based on what I've been enjoying lately, I think I may have inadvertently created my very own WABAC machine... 

Current reason I'm thankful for being literate
A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert "Believe It or Not!" Ripley - I've always been a big Ripley's fan, though as a young kid in the early 80's, I actually thought Jack Palance was "Ripley" since he was the one who hosted the show.  Anyway, a biography on this guy's fascinating life was long overdue, but it was worth the wait - Neal Thompson has created a fantastic read!  I'm not even done with it yet, and it's already one of my favorites.  The early 20th century world still held so many secrets, as wide-scale travel just wasn't that common yet - difficulty and cost were just too steep for the average person. So, it's only natural the decidedly un-average Robert Ripley would be the one to shed a little light on all of the wild and wacky things that make us and our world so naturally unique...and great.   I've now got my eyes set on the six-book collection of Ripley's Kindle may be getting a little more crowded in the near future.

Current reason I'm thankful for two functioning ears
Ozzy-era Black Sabbath albums...after listening to the full-album stream of Sabbath's upcoming 13 (awesome time-traveling mix of so many elements from their old albums to form their new creation...and I'm assuming their last - *spoiler alert* - the album ends with a bittersweet bookend in the form of the same foreboding cracks of thunder and ringing church bells that opened their debut album in 1970), I had the urge to crack out my 2009 UK Sanctuary remaster/deluxe edition CD's.  So good!  I would love to have a set of the original Vertigo vinyl pressings from the UK, but I just don't have the money or patience to hunt those down.  Loved listening to the Quadrophonic mix on DVD that comes with the Paranoid deluxe edition!  All 8 albums are amazing, and I gotta say it - Never Say Die is horribly underappreciated.

Current reason I'm thankful for two functioning eyes
Eight is Enough: Season Three - This show is so great - a bit cheesy at times viewed through today's eyes, but that's just one of the many reasons I like it.  Just try and not sing along to the opening theme song - I dare ya!  It's been great to see this series again for the first time since re-runs in the early and mid-80's.  Plus, it's been great to see Connie Newton/Needham again as Elizabeth Bradford...I always had a bit of a crush on her.  I have the previous two seasons on DVD as well, and am looking forward to Season's 4 and 5 when they're released.

In Search Of... - I was so happy when this series finally came out in a proper re-mastered box set.  An amazing show hosted by the equally amazing Leonard Nimoy.  The show is chock full of mysteries, wonder, adventure, myths, and everything else.  The episode that has really captured my attention since seeing it is the one about the Coral Castle down in the hell did that little guy create that thing?!

Walt Disney Treasures: Tomorrow Land - This show just blows my mind!  Think about it...our space program/NASA was largely forged from the minds of captured Nazi scientists, and propelled forward due to the Cold War with Russia.  Talk about turning lemons into lemonade!  Shit-fire!  Anyway, I've come to the conclusion that I really want to live in Walt Disney's original vision for EPCOT.  Oh, the interview with Ray Bradbury is also great.  Highly recommended DVD set!

Looney Tunes Golden Collection Box Set - Timeless cartoon classics that still make me laugh hysterically like a total dork today!  The Beaky (Bashful) Buzzard is my all-time favorite cartoon character - that dang laugh!!!

Current reason I'm thankful for the Internet - I stumbled upon this website last year after seeing a documentary (don't remember what it was about exactly), and then getting the urge to see if I could find some of those old Sears & Roebuck catalogs from the early 20th century where they would sell everything from clothes to farm equipment.  Anyway, this site doesn't have any of those, but what I found was so much better.  They have some of the old Christmas catalogs that I remember looking through when I was a kid - oh the long Christmas lists I used to make (and thusly, the long list of things I never got! haha!).  In particular, this site has what may just be the greatest catalog ever made - the 1980 JCPenney Christmas catalog.  What an amazing collection of early consumer technology!!!  Microwaves were still new and expensive; the Atari 2600 and Intellivision game systems were new and expensive; the Atari 800 personal computer will dazzle with it's early technology and steep prices - check out the price for that shitty printer ($600 in 1980 money = $1700 in today's money); not to mention the floppy disk drive ($700 in 1980 money = $1975 in today's money); and the one technological marvel for the time that has already since become extinct - the VCR...the one for sale in the 1980 catalog weighed in at a whopping 39 pounds and cost $887 (on sale!) = $2500 in today's money.  Mind blown!

I've also come to the conclusion that I grew up during a time with the best toys.  I had forgotten how badass they were in that catalog.  There were of course Star Wars toys (that was always the first thing I looked up); but there was also the Snoopy Snow Cone machine (never got one - dammit!); Slot Car Race Tracks with daredevil jumps and glow-in-the-dark accessories (because glow-in-the-dark anything at that time was super rad!) - I actually had one of those race tracks (the two little Trans-Am cars that came with it also had headlights that lit up when it went around the track!); also, it seems like every Slot Car Race Track and RC vehicle set was comprised of two of the most badass cars ever made - the Stingray Corvette and the Smokey & the Bandit-style Trans-Am/Firebird!!!  Seriously, look through the pages - amazing!  And don't even get me started on the super-cool collection of hand-held electronic sports games!

Yep, the WABAC machine is alive and well at my house.

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