Monday, December 11, 2017

5 Tapes To Get You In The Christmas Spirit!

2 weeks away from the big day. How are you feeling? Happy? Sad? Feeling down? Hey, I understand. This can be a stressful time of year for a lot of people and sometimes it can lead to the loss of the spirit of the season. I love creating a new tradition but to get into the Christmas spirit, sometimes you gotta rely on the classics and today I have some fine selections of classic Christmas movies and specials that will be a surefire way to get you back in the holiday mood.

ZIGGY'S GIFT:

Ziggy is a character that is made for one reason: to make you to smile. There's not a bad bone in that little guy and this special proves it. Ziggy becomes a Santa for the season while working with others who took up the Santa mantle for their own greed and dishonesty. Staying true to who he truly is and never losing his trademark smile, Ziggy teaches others the true spirit of Christmas. While not the most memorable or cherished holiday special, it is a very heartwarming one. I recommend it only if you wish to fall back in love with the character of Ziggy and need a cry or two.

A HOBO'S CHRISTMAS:



Oh boy, another one that'll tug at your heart strings...well, maybe not. It may just make you laugh for all the wrong reasons. In this 90 minute tear jerker, an old hobo comes back to his hometown to reunite with his son who wants nothing to do with him and in the meantime learns a lot of his mistakes came back to bite him on his old smelly, hobo butt. This was a made-for-tv movie airing on CBS and it definitely shows. I don't exactly know how else to sell this movie to you other than Gerald McCraney and the grandfather from Lost Boys are in it and at their all time corniest. But that's ok because the producers of this movie knew what they were doing and the audience they were going after. It's hokey, silly, but it reminds you of watching bad Christmas movies with your family while eating Christmas cookies. So in the end, not so bad.


REN AND STIMPY HAVE YOURSELF A STINKY LITTLE CHRISTMAS:


One of my favorite Ren and Stimpy episodes ever and not just because it's a special Christmas tape either. This was one of the funniest episodes where Stimpy let's out a nasty fart who names "Stinky" and heads out on an adventure to find him after he goes missing. What could make this tape even better, you ask? Add on two music videos featuring awesome Christmas songs sung by the gross duo that belong on everyone's Christmas playlist. It was pretty common for these Nickelodeon releases in the 90s to contain music videos and extras, all of which were made specifically for the tapes themselves, and were all pretty great. But what if I told you this tape had a reason to be even MORE amazing and gave you even more reason to drop money on a show you've seen a million times on tv and probably even recorded the episode (you dirty pirate!)?

Yup. A gift set! Featuring an awesome gift box and a fun plush Stimpy so you can cuddle up with your favorite gross cat and enjoy this fantastic tape. One last thing that you MUST know about this set...

Yup. The doll even has a fanny flap. What else would you expect?


SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT 2:



I've said and done a lot involving my friend and star of the movie Eric Freeman, but I very rarely speak about the movie itself. If you're not aware of this ultimate cult classic, it's known for it's low budget, cheesy acting and ridiculous action. While it's easy to point to it and laugh at the production values but it does tell a fun story of Ricky (the little brother of Billy, the killer in the first movie) going through life, despite watching his older brother being killed in front of him. Is it worthy of an Oscar? Nah. But is it a fun watch and a movie that did have a charm. It may be a giant pile of...ahem...garbage...but it's infamy lives on through every viewing. Despite not ever receiving a bluray release, new fans are discovering this movie every year and falling in love with the main star and his memorable line delivery...





PEE WEE'S PLAYHOUSE CHRISTMAS SPECIAL:



One of the best Christmas specials ever. Pee Wee plans a Christmas party with a lot of famous friends including Little Richard, Oprah, the lovely Del Rubio Triplets, Cher, CHARO and more! PeeWee gets a little greedy though and asks Santa for a LOT but then realizes that receiving his Christmas wishes would affect the wishes of other children across the world. Thankfully, PeeWee comes to his sense and realizes it's better to give than recieve, so demands Santa gives all his presents to other children. A beautiful ending to a magnificent Christmas special! Oh and bonus, this is where I learned the Dradel Song from!

Credit: I-Mockery.com (Check out my buddy RoG's great review of this special!)



Now, I gotta tell you guys, watching this special as a kid was HUGE. I was obsessed with Pee Wee Herman, despite my brother absolutely HATING him to the point that he would just get angry walking into the room when I was watching it. Oh well. It's not my fault he can't appreciate the greatness of Cowboy Curtis. Be that as it may, when I found out we were getting a Christmas special as a kid, I couldn't miss it. Missing it would be out of the question. The night it aired, my father had recorded it for me and I was able to watch it the next day. It was a pretty big event for me. Watching it the next day? I was in heaven. The silly songs, the over the top ridiculousness that we'd all come to love, the characters, the guest stars. I couldn't get enough. So many great skits and segments that if you were to watch today, you'd still love them. It may not be remembered in the same vain as A Charlie Brown Christmas or a movie like It's A Wonderful Life, but for me as a kid, this was bigger than any viewing of Miracle On 34th Street. Revisiting it in recent years, I've fallen in love with it all over again and continue to watch every year with as much enjoyment as I did as a child.


I don't know how to end this article any better than with the inclusion of a childhood (and adulthood) favorite. Honestly, they're all favorites and great additions to your yearly Christmas viewings. I hope you get to enjoy them just as much as I do ever year!



-Chad

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Village Gate Toy December 2017 Show Pick Ups



It's time, it's time! The Village Gate Toy Show took place on Sunday December 3rd and I did not hesitate to keep my hunting eyes open for great deals and fun treasures. For the past 3 years, my goals have been more to sell my goods but I've become friends with so many of the dealers and usually that leads to great deals and trades. And this show was absolutely no different. Let's take a look at the goods:


BATMAN RETURNS CUPS ($2 for all 3)



Back in the 90's, McDonalds would offer large cups for their major promotions. Usually a movie, sports team, cartoon, whatever they could spread across both regular items and their happy meals and there was no bigger movie in the summer of 1992 than Batman Returns. One of the big hype machines behind it was McDonalds, who offered these awesome cups along with neat frisbee toppers as the lids.So not only were you getting an amazing illustration of The Penguin giving a gruesome speech, you get a sweet disc to throw around. And if you were lucky, you got the glow-in-the-dark lid.


I'm gaga over anything glow-in-the-dark, so I got very excited for it. If you think I didn't request that particular lid at age 9 from the visibly frustrated fry cook, you just don't know me well enough.

JOKER CYCLE ($4):



Speaking of awesome Batman items, check this out! From the glorious Dark Knight Collection by our friends at Kenner, The Joker finally has a sweet ride of his own to escape from the Batmobile. It kinda resembles the Green Goblin Truck from Maximum Overdrive in motorcyle form, but Joker's a vain guy, you can't tell me he wasn't above getting his painted puss on a purple hog. If his face on a $100 bill doesn't happen, this will suffice.


GREEN LANTERN AND REAL GHOSTBUSTERS GHOST ($1 for both):


One of my vendor buddies came by to chat and told me he had a few loose Ghostbusters mini ghosts and he's also trying to eliminate all of his stock, so he was doing a "Buy 1 Get 1". Naturally I had to dig around his old, dusty boxes and found this sweet ghost along with an awesome JLU Green Lantern figure for my always growing JLU collection but the ghost is what excited me the most. Originally, I believed the ghost was the final piece to complete my Ecto 1, but I was wrong. Looks like it's the one that came with the mini GhostTrap. Which I should've known, since I had the Trap as a kid. But like I said earlier, glow-in-the-dark anything is the way to my heart, why wouldn't want to add this to my shelf?


nWo War Bonnet: ($3)



Collecting nWo merch, as discussed in previous articles, is a huge hobby of mine and this is an item I haven't seen pop up in quite sometime. The infamous "nWo War Bonnet" was a follow up to the the wildly popular Hollywood Hogan bandanna although this wasn't as well received by the nWo-ites across the world. In fact it was downright hated by many fans mainly because it looks silly and resembles an old dirty sock with the nWo logo on it. Admittedly, it's not the most visually pleasing headwear but as a addition to my nWo collection, it works. Maybe to wear in a future photo op with an nWo member or...oh heck, you know I had to try it on then and there, despite my wife hating it...



Not bad for an almost 20 year old piece of goofy headwear!


Not so bad of a haul. But it was time to pack up and leave. Laurie and I had made some nice dough and we were exhausted. So while we're taking stuff out to the car, we find someone selling some old Ninja Turtle items but I saw one piece I couldn't pass up...

NINJA TURTLE CEREAL BOWL ($1) :


My all time favorite cereal is the Ninja Turtles cereal from 1990. Oh sure, it was just Chex with marshmallows but it was so delicious. I can still smell the way the box smells as weird as it sounds. But one of the biggest reasons I loved it was the free cereal bowl you see above. Attatched to the box, this delightful small cereal bowl. I had two as a kid and used them heavily and I would love to use one again, but it looks like this is just too banged up and marked up, so I won't be using this particular bowl. But a buck for an instant flashback? Wasn't turning it down.Would you? Nah.


I had a great time at this toy show and can't wait til March. Here's hoping for even bigger successes! If you're coming by, stop by my table and say hi!

Today's Stocking Stuffer is a real winner, and you're gonna need these to get through Christmas Eve's crazy madness:

Hershey's is putting a delicious, Christmas-y kinda twist on a traditional favorite! These "Hershey Kisses Deluxe" are a great addition to that candy bowl in the dining room.



Not only do they contain a hazlenut in the middle with some delicious crispies, but they're even bigger than a normal Hershey's Kiss! Any Christmas related candy that has a mini nut reminds me of those Christmas parties as a kid where I'd sit on the couch trying to watch holiday specials and eat chocolate covered macadamia nuts while the adults bickered over politics and sports. They have a very familiar taste even though they're new to me.


-Chad

Friday, December 1, 2017

Christmas Season Is Here!




December is finally here! That means Christmas is upon us and you know what that means: family, food, and parking lots at shopping malls will be filled with insane shoppers who have apparently never been to a mall around this time of year before. I mean come on, people. It's not science.

I know Christmas has turned into a very commercialized holiday for some and a lot of people have been turned off by the whole aspect of it, but for me, this season means a lot more than just green, white and red tinsel all over snack cakes and stuff. I mean sure, that's a small fraction but for me, it's all about giving to those I love and those in need, traditions, nostalgia, and making new memories. Now I love Halloween and Thanksgiving, but when it comes to really having a good time and involving all my friends and family, Christmas is the best holiday. The buildup for the Christmas can be long on paper, but it goes by fairly quick. Too quick for my taste. By the time my wife and I are done designing Christmas cookies and decorating our Christmas tree, it's already the 26th! Time to hit those clearance racks for next year's decorations! I got my eyes on those sweet Masters of the Universe ornaments from Hallmark!

Every year I try to do my hardest to provide new and fun Christmas content here on the blog (and starting this year, the podcast) which is something I always look forward to. There's a lot of fun stuff from the past and present just waiting to be discussed. Toys, candy, tv specials, movies, and some of my favorite rituals and past Christmas memories! I can't wait to share this fun season with you!

So now that we've gotten the pleasantries out of the way, let's talk some fun stuff: Stocking stuffers. We all continue to put up our stockings and usually get some fun stuff, which is a nice start to the day. I actually got a stocking for my bunnies too, which they usually spend more time crawling in and getting stuck than they do actually eating their treats. But if you're stuck for ideas on what to get your family, don't worry! I got you! Throughout the month, I'll be offering suggestions for good stocking stuffers! Let's take a look at a classic choice today...

Christmas and Reeses go hand in hand. Well honestly, that could be said about any holiday. I can't imagine a holiday without a specialized Reese's treat. Whether it's an heart, easter egg, a bat or pumpkin, you can't go wrong with these. Slipping a few of these in your loved ones stocking is definitely a home run!

Ok, it's a little melty but it it's even better melty. Also, I'm very aware it looks very turd like in this pic.



I love these so much. They taste better than a regular Reese's cup. A perfect combination of the smoother chocolate and richer peanut butter. I don't know who came up with these crazy shaped Reeses for every season, but I sure am happy they did. It makes for a great tradition!


Let's be fair, even if it's not for a stocking, you're totally looking at that melty tree and thinking two things:

A: "My gosh, Chad, you left that tree under the lights too long and it looks like a giant turd".-NOTED. Fair. That's kinda my fault. I get it.

B: You're planning a quick dash to the grocery store to pick up a few for this afternoon's sugar rush. It's amazingly delicious and nobody would blame you. In fact, hide them before the office busybody tries to come over and mooch them off you.


So now that we've started off the Christmas season, let the peppermint and gingerbread flavored madness begin!

Happy December! :)

-Chad