Thursday, December 30, 2010

Confessions of a Thumb Sucker

From the 2005 movie Thumb Sucker, I had to see it of course.
You know I'm not shy when it comes to 'fessing up about my past. Parties, getting to first base with Eddie, my diary entries, etc. Last night I was flipping through the channels and TLC featured a young woman who publicly sucks her thumb. Thankfully in my case, I kicked the habit years prior to high school.

I remember sucking my thumb and watching Sesame Street. I remember sitting in the backseat of my mom's Oldsmobile, staring at the window on the way to Grandma's every morning -- my mom worked full-time. Bundled up in winter garb, thumb glued to my mouth. I remember going into first grade and my Uncle Tony having a serious heart-to-heart with me.

The thumb sucking had to stop. I was a big girl now. Sucking my thumb meant I was destined for a large dental head brace to correct my teeth. The brace would then rust in the rain. My uncle also told me that my right thumb would shrink and look odd compared to the never-before-sucked left thumb. I believed him, but what could I do. I couldn't stop. One night he doused on my thumb in alcohol. He figured every time I'd try to do my thing, the taste would be unbearable. I washed it off and crawled into bed.

In first grade, we were watching a movie on a very large screen. The auditorium was dark and the quiet made me forget I was still in school. Remember, when you were small? Your parents would correct you for putting both arms on the table or licking your plate? They'd tell you that one day you'd forget and might actually do it on a date or in public? That's what happened.

I was caught. Abruptly, the lights flickered on. I thought I had a few more seconds to spare before the end credits rolled. Wrong. In an instant, the kid sitting in front of me turned around. It all happened so fast. I didn't have time to think. I was sleepy from the darkness and comfort of my thumb. Before I knew it, he was pointing at me, screaming, "Allyson sucks her thumb! Look everyone! She was sucking her thumb like a little baby!" I was six. It was humiliating. I don't remember much after that.

I won't lie, I believe I finally stopped sucking my thumb at around age 11. It was my secret. Nobody knew. I didn't tell friends. I remember having trouble sleeping at sleep-overs.  Trying to hide under blankets or waiting for the other girls to fall asleep first, hoping I wouldn't wake up with my thumb in my mouth. Then one day, I just stopped. I didn't try anything fancy. I didn't go for therapy. I wasn't in a twelve-step program. My parents didn't make me sleep with gloves on. Nobody did a thing. I didn't do a thing. I just realized one day I had forgotten to "insert thumb in mouth." I never sucked my thumb after that. I would try once in a while to see what the allure was, and it always felt uncomfortable and awkward. I honestly can't believe it was ever an obsession.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Clown Around Figurines | Best Christmas Gift Ever!

I loved the Clown Around Clown House

You may remember I once blogged about the worst-ever Christmas gift I received as a kid -- the Andy Gibb doll. Today, let's discuss one of my most favorite Christmas gifts ever received as a kid. I realize most of you will have no recollection of Clown Arounds, but they were all the rage for a short time in 1981.

Clown Arounds were clown figurines kids collected --  much like Smurfs and Monchhichi figurines. Produced by Mego Corp, each Clown Around was a different character.  Houses, cars and other toys were sold separately and could be used with the Clown Arounds. Man, oh man, I loved these goofy looking figurines.

Clown Around image from
One Christmas Eve, when I was about 9, I received a Clown Around Clown House -- I believe it was the exact house pictured above. I loved the Clown House so much. I remember how happy I was tearing the wrapping paper off, only to discover my Aunt Carol had actually gotten me one of the coolest gifts ever! I loved the colors of the house and setting up the Clown Arounds inside the house. I swear, I must have played with that house the entire night. I loved it so much!

What one your favorite holiday gifts from your childhood? I'm surprised I forgot to mention this gift in my Top 10 Gifts blog post last year.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

1980s Board Games | Smurfs, A-Team, Cabbage Patch Kids ...

What was it about the 1980s toys that every toy required a Milton Bradley or Parker Brothers board game to go along with it? I vaguely recall owning the E.T. and Cabbage Patch board games. I'm quite sure both were on my Christmas list ... Did any of you have the following board games? Do you even remember these games?

Ms. Pac-Man & Pac-Man Board Games

Both board games were released by Milton Bradley in 1982 to try to "Bring the video game to the table!" definitely not as exciting as the video games though. Ms. Pac-Man and Pac-Man board games are available on eBay ranging from $10-$20 depending on their condition.

Cabbage Patch Kids Hide-and-Seek Game

Milton Bradley released this fun-filled match game in 1984 during the height of the Cabbage Patch Kids craze. The idea was to match up as many Cabbage Patch Kids (they popped up) before the timer went off.

Cabbage Patch Kids Friends to the Rescue Board Game

Parker Brothers 1984 Cabbage Patch Kids - Friends to the Rescue board game is going for $10-$40 on vintage toy websites and eBay. According to

"In this game, you must help rescue the kids from the clutches of Cabbage Jack. The delightful Bunny Bees will help you lead the kids to safety. And finally Colonel Casey, the kindly old stork, will help you bring the kids home. Collect 4 kids, each with a different color hair, or all the same color, and you're the winner."

The Smurf Board Game

First released by Milton Bradely in 1981, the above Smurf board game is available at $16.99 on and makes a great gift for Smurf fans everywhere.

The A-Team Board Game

My younger brother was a fan of the A-Team, I personally was not. This Parker Brothers board game was hot in 1984 and looks just as silly as the show. More information is available at

The E.T. Board Game

I love(d) E.T. so very much. We even have an E.T. movie poster hanging over our bed. I couldn't get enough of E.T. as a kid -- read more about it here. You can bet your bippie that in 1982, the E.T. Board Game by Parker Brothers was on my holiday wish list. Today this game goes from $10-$175 depending on its overall condition.

Watch the E.T. Board Game Commercial: 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Hershey's WHATCHAMACALLIT Chocolate Candy Bar

Hershey's Whatchamacallit Candy Bar

There's a stationery store in Parsippany, New Jersey that is like a total time capsule. Stepping into this shop is like stepping into a small-town 1980s school supply/card store. Truth be told, the merchandise is dusty and straight out of the 1980s and '90s. The line, extending almost out the door, is strictly for cigarettes and lottery tickets -- they're known around town for selling an abundance of winning lottery tickets. It's the only reason people visit this old-school place.

I haven't bought a lottery ticket in a while and was feeling the itch to scratch. While standing on the endless line alongside other hopeful New Jersey Lottery junkies, I peered at the random Hershey chocolate candy bars on an old display stand. Next to KitKat and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, I was surprised to see two Whatchamacallit bars. To be honest, I thought Hershey had stopped making them. 

I would have purchased the chocolate candy bar, but it was so dusty, I was afraid it may have been ten years old. I couldn't figure out the date on the package. Looking around, I noticed boxes of "Trapper Keeper Folders" and knew for sure everything was super dated. They sell Whatchamacallit on Amazon, so I guess it may still be available in grocery stores.

I went through a phase in my childhood, where I was obsessed with Whatchamacallits. I bought one nearly every day after school at the local candy store. That delicious crisp rice, peanut butter and caramel covered in delicious Hershey chocolate. Wowzers! I may need to pick one up later today just to experience 1984 all over again! Sadly, I read that due to the cost of cocoa butter, Hershey began replacing it with cheaper oil substitutes, which is why they can no longer call their candy bars "chocolate" bars. Bummer.

Sooo good!

Hershey Whatchamacallit Fast Facts

First introduced: 1978
Description from the Hershey's website: This Peanut-Flavor Crisp topped with a layer of caramel and dipped in chocolate has a name and a taste that's hard to forget!
Calories: 230
Fat: 110

Vintage 1980s Whatchamacallit Commercial

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Lily Tomlin -The Incredible Shrinking Woman

I was so excited when my parents first got cable television in the early 1980s. I remember HBO repeating several movies over and over again. In addition to Poltergeist and Meatballs, I loved watching the Lily Tomlin film, The Incredible Shrinking Woman. Seriously, when I was about ten years old, this sci-fi comedy was one of my favorites.

The Incredible Shrinking Woman was loosely based on the 1957 science fiction classic The Incredible Shrinking Man and was filled with messages of anti-consumerism. Pat Kramer (Lily Tomlin) is a stay-at-home mom to two bratty kids (played by Justin Dana and Shelby Balik -- I found Justin on Facebook, both child stars haven't done much since the movie). Pat, the wife of a successful advertising agency executive, lives with her family and their Spanish-speaking housekeeper in a lovely home filled with colorful pinks, greens, blues, yellows -- this movie has great early 1980s design and style.

The Incredible Shrinking Woman focuses on Pat's transformation after she's exposed to a dangerous concoction of household products. She shockingly goes from a normal sized woman to the size of a Smurf -- I loved when she moved into the doll house! Pat begins to become a media attraction and is soon kidnapped by a group of evil scientists. She escapes with the help of a sweet, smart and savvy gorilla named Sydney and I honestly do not remember the ending...
I haven't seen this film in thirty years and think I may ask my husband to add it to our Netflix queue. Here is a clip from The Incredible Shrinking Woman - enjoy!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Roly Poly Chime Ball From Fisher Price

Last night, I visited a good friend who recently had her first baby. It was so awesome to see her snuggling her new bundle of joy.  Driving home from Morristown, my mind began to wander toward retro toys from my babyhood -- and of course I had to start Googling as soon as I got home.

One baby toy in particular always struck a chord with me -- my little cousins and myself owned one of these nifty musical imaginative toys called the Roly Poly Chime Ball by Fisher Price. This simplistic sphere was appropriate for babies ages 6 months to 4 years.

The Roly Poly Chime Ball was first introduced in 1965 and was a hard plastic ball about 7 inches in diameter with a transparent top half featuring miniature rocking horses and a swan. When the ball was rolled, the small toys inside would rock and the music would sound. There were a variety of Roly Poly Chime Balls made -- one came in yellow and had sail boats that would rock.

Fisher Price continued to produce and modernize the Roly Poly Chime Ball for over thirty years and ceased production in 1986. For some reason with age, the transparent portion would fog up much like a cracked car headlight. The version I am most familiar with was green or teal and had a teeny-tiny version of my little brother's red, white and blue Fisher Price pony inside. Roly Poly Chime Ball can be found on eBay from $5-$100 depending on he condition.

Do you remember this old-school baby toy?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Music Song Lyrics Defined

As we near 2011, our terms and slang have changed and developed so much so, that when I hear old holiday songs I think to myself, "What the heck does that mean?" Well, actually I'm lying. I know what it means, but I wonder if today's kids do. I've created a guide for phrases and terms no longer popular as a guide to some of your fave songs this holiday season. Feel free to add to my list in the comments section.

Phrases In Christmas Music No Longer Popular

Auld Lang Syne is similar to "Once upon a time"

From "Need a Little Christmas" the line is "Carols at the spinet"
What is a spinet? A spinet is a smaller version of a piano manufactured between the 1930s and 1990s. Similar to a harpsichord or organ.

From "Need a Little Christmas" the line is "Slice up the fruitcake"
Who eats fruitcake these days? Fruitcake has always been a joke around the holidays. Fruitcake is exactly what it sounds like, a cake made with chopped candied fruit and/or dried fruit, nuts, and spices, sometimes soaked in spirits

From "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" the line is "Take a look in the five and ten..."
Back in the days, they had five and dime stores where you could purchase items for under tn cents. F.W. Woolworth Co. was the most popular back then.

From "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" the line is "Hop-a-Long boots and a pistol that shoots"
What in the world are Hop-a-Long boots? Apparently these were boots worn by a guy named William Lawrence, known as Hop-A-Long Cassidy in movies and shows from the 1940s and 1950s. Kids in the 50s loved them.

From "I'll Be Home For Christmas" the line is "Please have snow and mistletoe, and presents on the tree"
Yes, you heard correctly, "on the tree" not under. Back in the days, gifts were placed atop the Christmas tree's branches although I can't find any documentation to back this up. I swear I heard it somewhere and in the movie A Christmas Story, there are presents on their tree Christmas morning.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Facebook Replaces Phone Calls & Emails

Yesterday, an old high school friend mentioned deleting a large number of friends in honor of National UnFriend Day ...  Jimmy Kimmel is the cruel culprit and cause for careless random unfriending this week. I realize it is pathetic to admit I care, but I do. Remember my post regarding Facebook unfriending and deleting back in June? Sadly, the truth is, Facebook has become my lone lifeline to certain old friends and even family members.

Gone are the days of emails, texts and phone calls (remember phone calls!) ... Today I find out about friend's pregnancies, divorces, engagements, new jobs and other big events via Facebook.  For example: an old friend once threatened to delete her account and I felt my heart drop. She rarely replies to texts and is too busy for phone calls, so my only link to her at this point is Facebook. Then again, maybe without Facebook, she will be forced to pick up the phone again the way we did back in 2003.

Friends who have moved away and purchased new homes I may never see, I get a glimpse into their world through their Facebook albums. Old buds or former work associates I don't really speak with keep me posted on their new babies and important career moves via FB. I'd never know otherwise. Can anyone relate to this? These days I've found myself too busy or too tired to chat on the phone, but I welcome a private message sent through Facebook. So drop your friends a line, let them know what you're up to and think twice before unfriending someone who really does care.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Corey Feldman Hints of Goonies Sequel

If you've been following for a while, you know how much I adore Corey Feldman and The Goonies. Yesterday, reports surfaced that yes, indeed a Goonies sequel is in the works, according to Corey Feldman.

Blogs state that The Goonies sequel can go one of several ways and here's how I feel about it.

Goonies - The Broadway Musical
WTF? No! I'm so sick of all the hype that High School Musical started several years ago. These days all we hear about is Glee and new offbeat musicals. I will just cry if they turn The Goonies into a Broadway show. I can see it now, Chunk and Sloth gettin' down with Baby Ruths in-hand rocking along doing the Truffle Shuffle. No! This is just so wrong. 

Goonies - With New Kids & New Adventures
Oh no, not another Karate Kid remake. I can't take it. I am not behind this idea at all. I don't want to see Zac Efron as Mikey's older brother "Brand" and Dakato Fanning as Steph. It just seems so unnatural to me. I can just picture Miley Cyrus covering Cyndi Lauper's "Goonies R Good Enough" song. Please make it stop!

Goonies - Reuniting The Original Cast
Now we're talking! Bring it! I would love to see the original crew back for another adventure or even in the role of parents telling the story to their kids. Anything, but the above two sequel options would make me so happy. There was a time I adored Sean Astin. I only mentioned him in my summer 1985 diaries like a billion times. Today he no longer does it for me, but in my mind he will always be the one and only Mikey Walsh, asthmatic inhaler and all.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Three Fast Food Meals That Made Me Sick

The other night, my friend professed his love for the McDonald's McRib sandwich. Now, don't think this is a bashing of fast-food. I won't lie, I love the stuff! As a child it was a big deal to visit Burger King or Friendly's. However, his mention of the McRib conjured up memories of one of the worst nights of my life which in turn reminded me of two more awful experiences all having one common denominator ... FAST FOOD! 

Warning: Although I promise not to get graphic, only readers with a strong stomach are encouraged to continue reading.

Night of the McDonald's McRib Sandwich
I have no idea what possessed me to order this at age 9. I've always been a sucker for the latest and greatest offerings at popular casual dining chains. I'm sure Mickey D's was advertising their new McRib which prompted me to try it.  Introduced in 1981 Smothered in BBQ sauce, this boneless rib patty was pure deliciousness and I savored every bite. Hours later, I awoke from a peaceful sleep with the urge to purge. Sadly I didn't make it to the bathroom I shared with my little brother.  Let's just say the hallway stank of putrid regurgitated BBQ sauce for weeks no matter how hard Mom scrubbed. 

Night of the Friendly's Hot Dog
Always craving a tasty wiener, I ordered a Friendly's frank I believe they called it. I remember being very young. I loved every bite of the soft square-shaped bun and the crunch and snap of the hot dog fried to perfection on the flat grill. Sadly as perfectly as I remember the dog going down, I can recall it coming up hours later. Unlike the surprise of the McRib madness, I was unable to sleep with the hot dog laying in my gut like a rock. Obviously that was the last time I ordered the Friendly's Frank. 

All Day Illness from the Bob's Big Boy Breakfast Burrito 
To this day, my mother marvels at the thought of my heinous food selection that day in Florida. While visiting family in the Tampa area, I was excited to try Bob's Big Boy. We didn't have a Bob's that I was aware of while growing up. Now, at this time, Mexican wasn't as popular as it is now, so I myself wonder what went through my mind when I ordered this plate of pure poison disguised in a neatly wrapped floured tortilla. All I can tell you is that I rolled around on the living room floor of my Uncle's house for hours in agony until the sun went down. My aunt came to the rescue with a bottle of Milk of Magnesia.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Online Internet Dating | What Did We Do Before The Web?

Whenever I read anniversary announcements featuring older couples, the stories about how they met are so sweet. They usually involve neighborhood dances, classmate crushes or family friend hook ups. Does this happen today? Do they even have dances anymore?

I'm not shy when it comes to admitting that I met my husband online through an Internet dating website. Although some still shy away from finding love online, I have to say I tried the bar scene, Starbucks and work. It just wasn't happening.

How did our parents and grandparents do it? I had a high school boyfriend and a college boyfriend. I would have married my college boyfriend whom I met at school. Many of the people I graduated with went on to marry their school boyfriends. I was dumped a few weeks after college graduation.

I moved to New Jersey seven years ago and again turned to the Internet to meet someone; only this time I was on the hunt for new gal pals. I scoured MySpace and Friendster -- obviously before the Facebook days. I made sure to explain how I moved here for my boyfriend and although he's fun to be with, I was missing gal pals. My mother-in-law wasn't really into doing dinner, coffee, shopping or manicure/pedicures.  My efforts worked and I met about five women with similar career goals and interests. Those Jersey girls remain some of my closest friends to this day.

The point of this post is to say, if it weren't for the Internet, I wouldn't be celebrating my 2nd wedding anniversary in two weeks. How did you meet your significant other? How did your parents meet?

Monday, October 25, 2010

1980s Accessories: Banana Clips

Banana Clips came in an array of colors

Today, my good friend Rene mentioned how she wants to bring back the 1980s Banana Clips and I couldn't help but chuckle. First it was my buddy Tracey and her silly EG Smith slouch socks. Now Rene will be shopping eBay for colorful Banana Clips (not to be confused with the banana seat bikes) for her side ponies.

Did you own a Banana Clip in the '80s?
For those of you who are too young or too old to remember, Banana Clips were popular in the mid to late 1980s. Named after their obvious shape, these over-sized clips were used as offbeat ponytail holders.  The hair comb type teeth kept the hair from slipping out while providing a loose ponytail.

Unfortunately, I never had hair thick or long enough to sport one, most of the girls in class wore them in colors that matched their stirrups or leggins. To be honest, my most favorite hair accessory to this day are those braided ribbon clips made from different colored ribbons. Yes, 1983 was a great year!

Click here to purchase a Banana Clip for $5.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Before Facebook We Had Friendship Books or FBs

Example of a Friendship Book page - from the 
Friendship Book Facebook group

Friendship Books or "FBs" were a big part of my life back in the late 1980s and early 1990s. These small to medium sized "books" were created by stapling pieces of paper together and including a "To" and "From" page which included an address. Once the book was filled, it would be returned to the pen pal it was intended for. It was common to make FBs for other pen pals. Kids who knew that particular pen pal would often write "ICR" on their page meaning, "I can return the friendship book - I'm pen pals with this person."

Each page would be a work of art and include the names of our favorite bands. We used colorful paints, markers, stickers and more to try and outdo the last pen pal's work. The more offbeat, the better. People would experiment with BINGO markers, tin foil, Saran wrap, you name it. I remember even burning the edges of paper with a candle and applying it to the page. By the way, this was all way before scrap booking became all the rage.

We all had nicknames from songs or bands -- for example I was "Sally Cinnamon" for a while. I stole the name from a Stone Roses song. There was a printing company that made these awesome address labels for us featuring a photo of our choice and typically friends would share the cost with a pen pal and include both of their addresses or just their names.

From the Facebook Friendship Book group

My high school boyfriend became fascinated with the Friendship Book scene and he too had labels made up and found himself a handful of pen pals. While most of our high school classmates were out getting wasted on a Friday night, we would sit at my parent's kitchen table with art supplies strewn everywhere and work on our week's worth of Friendship Books. My dad never understood what it was we were doing -- "You doing your art projects again, kids?" He'd say.

Friendship Books began as a way to meet new Gothic or new wave pen pals from all over the country who liked the same music.  Sadly, much like today's Facebook and teens - some of the pen pals were cruel and would spread rumors throughout the pen pal circuit. I remember getting prank calls and hurtful letters from pen pals I had confided in. It was devastating because the reason we all obviously turned to Friendship Books and pen pals was because we couldn't relate to the bullies at school who made fun of our Doc boots and all black. Now the pen pal you've bonded with is calling you a poseur or making fun of you for one reason or another. It was a bummer, but luckily I only experienced it with a few kids who were of course from my own tri-state area.

By the time I got to college, I began to fade out of the Friendship Book scene. Between school, work and partying, I no longer had time to keep up with my massive amount of pen pals and the Friendship Books. It was in college that I began meeting real-life friends who had common interests and didn't think my shoes or hair was strange at all.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

E.G. Smiths Famous 1980s Slouch Socks

E.G. Smith Socks

My high school buddy, Tracey recently purchased a pair of E.G. Smith socks on eBay for over $22.  Teen or tween girls growing up in the mid to late 1980s are sure to agree, you just weren't cool unless you sported slouchy, baggy socks. The E.G. Smith brand, priced at a hefty $10-$12 back in 1986, were somewhat of a status symbol like the Benetton polo or Swatch watch.  Although baggy, slouchy socks came in a variety of colors and styles, I personally preferred the white E.G. Smith socks.

Between 1986-1987, I attended a Catholic high school where every girl in school paired the white slouchy socks (folded over once at the top) with their penny loafers and uniform skirts. These cute socks didn't work for me and my chubby ankles and calves. Not to mention, my feet were already wide, so the super thick socks made my preppy penny loafers even tighter. Baggy E.G. Smith socks looked simply adorable and flattering on girls with slender calves. I remember longing for that look at age 13.

 Tracey sports her slouchy socks.

If you're looking to relive your youth with classic pair of these slouchy socks, like Tracey, you will have to turn to eBay. Although E.G. Smith still sells socks, they no longer carry the over-sized slouch socks we girls of the '80s adored.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Words & Phrases From The 1950s | '50s Slang

For some reason blog posts focused on old-school slang seem to get lots of hits. I've covered the '70s, '80s and '90s, so here are some fun phrases from the 1950s. Obviously the '50s era is before my time so I'm depending on web research for this list. Yes, some of these words are still commonly used today.

Bread: Cash, money, dough. Example: "Gimme some bread so I can buy the new Elvis album!"

Crumb: Jerk, creep, idiot. Example: "Stay away from that guy, he's a real crumb!"

Daddy-o: Hip way of addressing a male. Example: "What's shakin' Daddy-o?!"

Flip your lid: Go crazy or lose it. Example: "Dad, I'm only five minutes past curfew, don't flip your lid!"

Out of this world: Great, amazing. Example: "This apple pie is out of this world!"

Out to lunch: Not all there. Example: "The receptionist at my doctor's office is totally out to lunch."

Pad: House, home, place of residence. Example: "I just got a new pad downtown."

Sharp: Snazzy, fashionable. Example: "You're looking sharp!"

Take five: Take a break. Example: "Why not take five and we'll regroup in a bit."

Wig out: Same as Flip your lid.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Burger King's Original Chicken Sandwich

This weekend, we went up to Westchester to visit friends who were celebrating their child's second birthday. Once the kids were tucked in, the adults chatted over beers, which of course induced hunger. One of our friends was fixated on taking a ride to a local Burger King. As thirty-somethings, our friends are healthy eaters and rarely consume fast-food. I don't drink, so I offered to take everyone's order and escort a friend to come along. He hadn't seen a Burger King menu in a while and wanted the full-on drive-thru experience.

As we crept toward the drive-thru box, he asked for a few minutes to review the latest and greatest Burger King offerings. After placing the order, we approached the window. There he insisted on adding an "Original Chicken Sandwich" to the order. The cashier began to rattle off toppings such as lettuce, tomato, mayo, etc. I agreed to everything when suddenly my buddy stopped me. "NO! There is never tomato on the Original Chicken Sandwich," he exclaimed. He was right. I had totally forgotten about that, though I didn't think it mattered.

The Original Chicken Sandwich was introduced in 1978 as part of Burger King's "Specialty Sandwich" line and successfully helped Burger King increase sales by 15%. As we drove back to our friend's house, I realized that it had been more than 20 years since I had ordered one of these signature chicken sandwiches from Burger King. The Original Chicken Sandwich is unique compared to the other fast food chicken sandwiches -- unlike most fast-food chains' chicken sandwiches Burger King's resembles a chicken cutlet in length and shape and isn't round or shaped like a patty.

Remember the long seeded bun, mayo and the shredded lettuce? How about when Burger King would spice things up and serve the Chicken Cordon Bleu sandwich with slices of ham and Swiss cheese or the Italian Chicken Sandwich, their idea of Chicken Parmesan, which came with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Although I've never ordered these varieties, I do remember them.

I'm sure most of you no longer eat Burger King and I expect a flood of nasty comments. I'm not promoting that you all run to your local BK, but the idea that this friend ordered this sandwich brought back memories. We joked about how it's the only fast-food chicken sandwich with that unique shape and he sliced a sample for each of us to savor as we reminisced about the old days of Burger King and their traditional menu items.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

At The Dive Shop With My Scuba Diver Dad

Hanging out at the dive shop.
Last weekend, we were driving along the Southern State Parkway on Long Island when old memories suddenly came back to me. As we approached the Baldwin exit 20S, I remembered hanging out with my dad at the dive shop on Grand Avenue. My dad was really into scuba diving for most of my life.

Around 1982, my dad would take me to his friend's scuba diving shop every Saturday morning. Dad was tight with the owner --  a jolly, Irish white-haired man everyone loved. He would let me have anything I wanted. The shop sold Lance brand snacks. I remember munching on endless packages of peanut butter sandwich crackers and playing hours of free arcade games while dad would sip coffee and talk shop with his dive buddies.

A big fan of E.T., I created a poster of E.T. wearing a scuba mask and tank which the dive shop owner loved. He hung my poster up and left it there for as long as I can remember. Those were good times -- innocent, happy times spent hanging with my dad while mom was busy cleaning and food shopping.  It's funny how free arcade games and snacks were all it took to keep a kid content back then.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Google Turns 12 Today September 27

Happy Birthday Google!

Twelve is the best age. If I could close my eyes and be 12 again, all would be right with the world--my parents would still be together, my bills would be nonexistent and I would be a much smaller shoe and clothing size. Oh well... We all know age is inevitable. 

I wanted to use today's blog post to honor Google. I always remember Google as the internet search engine company many of my former coworkers jumped ship to work for. Between 1999-2001, I was working at a teen internet company called which owned the male gaming website, a girl power website called (I loved ChickClick!) and some other sites like 

Business wasn't going very well by 2001. Our stock options dropped to about 40 cents a share and there were rounds of layoffs every quarter. It was so depressing. I loved that job. It was my first copy writing job and I had the chance to work on awesome interactive ad campaigns. I remember each time I made the layoff cut, I felt as if I had won some sort of job lottery. As the dot bomb blew up, my coworkers began leaving in droves for a place called Google. The name made me giggle and I wasn't really sure what it was they did exactly. 

I remember receiving a call from a former coworker a few weeks after she and about ten others left for Google. She asked if I would mind helping her with a writing project. One of my biggest career regrets is turning her down. I told her I wasn't good enough to write something targeted to adults. At that time, I had only written for kids. She urged me to give it a shot, I refused. Yet another awesome opportunity turned down by low self-esteem. 

Today, our VP who left for Google is now the CEO of AOL, another internet company I worked for and fell victim to rounds of layoffs. Anyway, that's my Google story. Happy birthday Google! We'd be lost without you--literally, I love Google Maps. My Verizon DROID phone is just as dependent on you as I am. Thank you for Blogger and Google Analytics and much, much more!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

25 Years of Nintendo Super Mario Brothers

Happy Belated Birthday Super Mario Brothers!
I know I'm late to the party -- September 13 marked the 25th year of Super Mario Brothers, but I still wanted to take time to post about the Nintendo video game's special birthday/anniversary.

I have memories of my brother and I playing hours and hours of Mario Brothers in my parents' upstairs TV room. It was the only Nintendo game I really loved, next to Tetris of course. I was raised on Atari and for some reason by the time Nintendo came out, I was a bit over the whole video game craze.

Today, my husband plays hours of Mario Kart for Wii and these days the Mario games are much more challenging than the original Mario Brothers games.  Last Christmas, I bought him New Super Mario Brothers for Wii and hoped we would be able to play together. I couldn't get into it. Today's games are much more difficult and technical -- I just can't keep up. I feel so old.

Three Fun Facts About Mario Brothers
  1. Mario wasn't always a plumber, he was originally a carpenter.
  2. Since 1995, the voice of Mario has been provided by American voice actor Charles Martinet. He also voices Wario and Luigi.
  3. The first Super Mario Bros game has sold 40.24 million copies.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Great Space Coaster | Cool 1980s Kid's Show

Back in the early 1980s, we had awesome TV shows for kids featuring wacky looking singing and dancing puppets. If you think about it, I'm sure you can name a few. One show I really enjoyed was The Great Space Coaster. 

This 30-minute show lasted for five seasons and starred characters such as Goriddle Gorilla and Edison the Elephant. And  of course, Who could forget Gary Gnu's "No gnus is good gnus show"?
To this day, 30 years later, I can still sing every word of the theme song... "It's The Great Space Coaster, Get on board.  On The Great Space Coaster, We'll explore. A comet ride of fantasy..." describes The Great Space Coaster as, "A kid's fantasy/variety show about three friends who leave Earth each day in their 'Space Coaster'. Each episode featured several musical numbers (usually dealing with the various issues and problems kids face every day), plus news reports from Gary Gnu and book reviews from Speed Reader."

Relive the memories with The Great Space Coaster theme song!

My personal favorite, Gary Gnu!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mood Rings & Mood Lipsticks: Do They Really Work?

Growing up in the late 1980s, I went through a strange, short-lived hippie phase thanks to my love of The Monkees. Two items I adored, were my mood ring and my mood lipstick. Both of these accessories were said to change color based upon my emotional state. I'm not sure if they really worked, my mood changed but my lips and ring basically remained the same color.

What Is A Mood Ring?

The mood ring was invented by jewelery designer, Marvin Wernick in 1975. He is said to have come up with the idea based upon thermotropic strips of material which are applied to the forehead to gauge someone's temperature.

The mood ring contains a thermochromic element in the form of liquid crystal which changes color based upon the temperature of the person wearing the ring. Temperature linked to emotional state would equal the mood of the person wearing the ring.

Mood Lipsticks

Like mood rings, mood lipsticks were to change color depending on your emotional state. Personally, I doubt this actually worked. It felt as if my lips were always pink although the lipstick looked green in the tube.

Did you own either of these mood accessories? Do you think they worked?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Keith Haring, the King of 1980s Pop Art

Pop art has always been very hip with young people. Kids from the 1960s had Andy Warhol. Children of the 1970s had Peter Max (I had a Peter Max bed sheet set and loved it!) and we 1980s kids had Keith Haring.

Danny, my BFF in 7th grade (1985), first introduced me to cool Keith Haring designs. He had several Keith Haring Swatch watches, which we thought were totally awesome. I remember posters, t-shirts, stickers and other collectibles could be purchased at Pop Shop on NYC's Lafayette Street in SoHo. The stuff wasn't cheap of course, but it was so rad, you had to have something Keith Haring if you were truly hip and new wave.
Fast Facts About Keith Haring
  • Keith Haring was born in Reading, Pennsylvania and grew up in Kutztown, Pennsylvania.
  • He studied graphic design at The Ivy School of Professional Art in Pittsburgh between 1976-78.
  • Keith Haring moved to NYC at age 19 and studied at SVA, School of Visual Arts.
  • Keith Haring died on February 16, 1990 of AIDS-related complications.  
  • All ticket proceeds of Madonna's first New York date of her Blond Ambition World Tour went towards AIDS charities including AIDS Project Los Angeles and amfAR.  
  • Keith Haring's work was included in the song "Into the Groove" during Madonna's live performances on her 2008 tour and during the U2 performance on the 1997/1998 PopMart Tour.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dance Party USA | 1980s Dance TV Show

Didn't You Wish You Could Be A Dance Party USA Dancer Back in 1987?

The original guidos could be found on Dance Party USA!
In 1986 something super awesome was delivered daily to my Long Island living room thanks to cable TV station, USA Network. The show was called Dance Party USA and I think it aired during the "after school" time slot. Oh what fun that TV show was! Girls with big huge hair, long bright colored nails and horrible 1980s fashions danced with their favorite guido guys clad in acid wash along to Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, The Jets, Debbie Gibson, Tiffany, NKOTB and my personal favorite Alisha. I was also shocked to learn that one of my favorite 1990s bands, Nine Inch Nails (NIN) appeared on an episode. Click here to view:

Dance Party USA was shot live-to-tape (like most TV talk shows) in Philadelphia, PA and aired from April 12, 1986 to June 27, 1992 and was originally 30 minutes long, but was expanded to an hour in 1987. The show was also a vehicle to introduce little known singers and bands to a national audience. Researching on YouTube, I couldn't find any singers who really became all that famous. I do remember that the most famous regular on the show to date is Philly native, Kelly Ripa. She was one of the dancers.

Prepare to laugh yourself silly with this 80s awesomeness.

 More Dance Party USA fun!


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