August 19, 2014
Haven’t done a Munchkin Tuesday in ages, but a Twitter conversation with a girl who remembers the childhood joys (and traumas) of the late ’70s and early ’80s got me thinking about the Waterful toy I had as a kid. Mine was a small one that involved a plastic swordfish who had to catch rings on his nose. I have no idea why I don’t have carpal tunnel after all the time I spent playing with that thing.
Remember when toy stores used to put out Waterfuls for kids to play with in hopes they’d get hooked and bug their parents to buy one?
January 14, 2014
OK, so I wasn’t technically a munchkin when this technology came out in the mid-’90s, but my younger siblings were, and I’d forgotten all about it until my sister said something on Facebook that made me think of the Packard-Bell my mom bought somewhere around my sophomore year of college.
Skip to 9:30 to see the part I remembered and was trying to describe to my sister, who had also forgotten about it until just now.
It doesn’t make me feel quite as warm and fuzzy as the reassuring “PRRRRRRRRRRRRRRT! Chk-chk-chk-chk-chk” of an Apple IIe powering up, but it’s pretty good.
December 17, 2013
I’m convinced the number of bigoted a-holes in the world would be dramatically lower if everybody had seen this video as a child.
I’ve wanted sheet music for “My Name Is You” since the first time I heard it — sometime around 1983, if I remember correctly — but I’ve never been able to find it. In keeping with my new habit of simply stealing songs out of thin air if I can’t buy them, I sat down the other night and figured out the chords.
If you want ‘em, they’re up on Ultimate Guitar now. Click here.
January 29, 2013
Best thing about YouTube: vintage Sesame Street clips. This one has always been one of my favorites.
January 22, 2013
I wanted one of these when I was little. I never got a real Monchhichi, but when I was about 7, I used my allowance to buy a knockoff that was designed to cling to things. I loved that ridiculous toy right up until one of its hands came loose from the curved metal strap that kept its arms perpetually curved in a “hugging” position, allowing the metal to poke through the fabric. I tried to fix it, but it wouldn’t stay together, and Mom finally made me throw it away because she was afraid one of us kids would get cut on the metal, which had pretty sharp edges.
If I remember right, the hand came loose when I tried to make it stick its thumb in its mouth like a real Monchhichi. Stupid poorly constructed Monchhichi impostor. >:(
Too bad I didn’t own any Star Wars action figures. If I had, Fake Monchhichi could have gone down in a blaze of glory by losing its hand in an epic lightsaber battle before falling into the chasm of my bedroom wastebasket and being carted away to the curb to meet its ultimate doom in a trash compactor. Sadly, instead of meeting a dramatic and noble end, the poor thing had to endure the ignominy of sustaining a compound fracture while attempting to suck its thumb, which sounds more Kevin Smith than George Lucas….
January 15, 2013
So today I’m running an errand for work, minding my own business, when I walk into a store and hear a spectacularly wretched cover of “I Think We’re Alone Now” come over the speakers.
I don’t know who was responsible for this monstrosity, but as a child of the ’80s, I cringed.
I know it was originally recorded by Tommy James and the Shondells, but if you ain’t Tiffany, I don’t wanna hear you sing “I Think We’re Alone Now,” because I spent most of seventh grade belting that into a hairbrush and trying to decide whether to be awestruck, inspired, or just wildly jealous that she had a record contract when she wasn’t even out of high school. (I think I mostly opted for awestruck. I harbored no delusions about how my own pipes compared to hers, and even at age 12, I recognized how frickin’ brilliant that mall tour really was. Talk about marketing to your target audience — a teen pop act playing shopping malls in 1987? Holy crap. That’s genius.)
There wasn’t much I liked about junior high, but dammit, Tiffany makes the short list. If you’re anywhere close to my age, I bet you can’t even listen to her voice without remembering the scent of Salon Selectives hairspray, the taste of raspberry New York Seltzer, and the sound of an Apple IIe powering up. (You just heard it, didn’t you?)
Here she is a couple of years ago. Stay with her through “Could’ve Been.”
Girlfriend’s still got it … and how great is it to hear her sing it like she knows what she’s talking about this time? ‘Course, y’all know I’m a sucker for that sort of thing anyway.
October 30, 2012
Love this. How much TV did you watch in the ’80s? Write down your answers, then click on the YouTube icon and look at the description to see how many you got right.
October 9, 2012
So I was in Tucumcari this weekend, on my way to lunch at Watson’s BBQ with the owners of the Blue Swallow, when I found myself at a barn sale on the edge of town.
I didn’t find anything I wanted to buy at the barn sale, but somewhere in an alternate universe where it is still 1981, my 6-year-old self threw a tantrum when I passed a complete set of Strawberry Shortcake dolls without even bothering to ask how much they were.
I wanted a Strawberry Shortcake doll when I was little, but she was expensive, and Dad objected to the fake strawberry scent of the two-inch-high plastic figurine I got in my Christmas stocking, so I had to settle for a Huckleberry Pie pillow doll instead.
American Greetings came up with the original Strawberry Shortcake dolls, which Kenner then manufactured. Apparently the greeting-card-to-toy-to-cartoon trajectory was a thing back then, because I seem to remember the Care Bears and Rainbow Brite following similar paths to fame. These days, Hasbro is making new Strawberry Shortcake dolls, but they look more like what you’d get if that big-headed kid from Deliverance knocked up the Little Mermaid, and apparently Simon Bond invaded Strawberryland at some point, because Custard is nowhere to be seen.
(On a related note, I could probably do a whole Munchkin Tuesday entry on the work of Simon Bond, because I spent a LOT of time giggling over 101 Uses for a Dead Cat when I was a kid. I’m not sure what that says about me.)
P.S.: I’d almost forgotten about this, but in 1983, General Mills made a cereal based on the Strawberry Shortcake franchise. Because I was in second grade and didn’t have any better sense, I set up an inconsolable howl for it until Mom bought me a box. As usual, I was required to eat the entire box. If I remember right, it tasted like Frankenberry mixed with runoff from a Monsanto factory. Ghastly stuff. Here’s the commercial that suckered me into asking for it:
September 18, 2012
Raise your hand if you owned one of these as a child.
*Emily raises hand*
Raise your hand if you wish you still did.
*Emily raises hand again*
Raise your hand if you are pretty sure algebra scores would be a helluva lot higher if kids still had these instead of being handed calculators at age seven.
*Emily raises hand, waves it, jumps up and down in seat, stomps foot, grinds teeth, gives up, gets on eBay to find Little Professor for niece and nephews*
If there were an app to turn my iPhone into a Little Professor, you know I would be downloading it. Somebody needs to get on that, stat.
August 7, 2012
I went looking for ’80s video games through which to relive my childhood this evening. I hit the mother lode here.
You’ll have to access these from a computer, as they’re not smartphone-friendly, but what a collection — Frogger, Q*bert, Space Invaders, Zelda, and even Duck Hunt.
I assume no responsibility for your utter lack of productivity tomorrow….