Tag: Nostalgia

Is There a Proper Way to Appreciate Nostalgia?

Is There a Proper Way to Appreciate Nostalgia?

Rants
"'Remember when' is the lowest form of conversation." -- Tony Soprano Anyone reading this site or my various social media outlets -- Like my Facebook page today! -- could figure out in three seconds that I trade largely in the past. And often, a past that occurred many years before I was born. In other words, my internet calling card is nostalgia. And I'm far from alone. If the multitude of websites, books, TV shows, and movies that are either informed or dominated by our shared pop culture heritage are any indication, people love thinking about and looking at things that happened a long time ago. If nostalgia were an actual industry -- and time spent wading in it were measurable in dollars -- it would probably rank somewhere just behind pharmaceuticals or tourism in America. ...
Pee-wee Herman and Andy Samberg do shots

Pee-wee Herman and Andy Samberg do shots

TV & Radio
I was all set to love this latest SNL Digital Short, "Andy and Pee-wee's Night Out", featuring Andy Samberg and Pee-wee Herman.  Sadly, I didn't.  It was mildly amusing, but fell pretty flat.  Tell me if I'm crazy here: Now look, I loved Pee-wee's Playhouse as a kid, and loved the first Pee-wee movie.  But other than the warm nostalgia of seeing Paul Reubens in character again, this just didn't connect with me.  Yeah it was neat that they did the "Tequila" dance, but I think I've been ruined for obligatory pop culture references by watching one too many crappy Family Guy episodes. Chairry yelling "get the f*** off of me!" to Anderson Cooper was excellent, though.
Vintage ephemera: The Hopalong Cassidy Savings Club

Vintage ephemera: The Hopalong Cassidy Savings Club

Ephemera
These are troubling financial times, my friends. Jobs are being cut, houses foreclosed on, and now the dreaded "R" word is being tossed around. In these dark days, who can show us the way toward fiduciary responsibility? If you answered "a fictional cowboy who looks eerily like Ernest Borgnine," give yourself a gold star. That's right boys and girls, our old pal Hopalong Cassidy will show us the way to fiscal solvency! So break open that piggy bank, look under those couch cushions, and rifle through grandma's purse while she's busy taking her meds, 'cause we got dimes to collect! But tell us Hoppy, how do we get started with all this savings fun? (more…)
Posters of the WPA

Posters of the WPA

Ephemera
Back in the day (1935 to be precise), President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Works Progress Administration (WPA), an enormous government program aimed at providing employment for millions of Americans affected by the Great Depression. The legacy of the WPA is a host of public works (bridges, roads, etc.) and cultural projects. That's all well and good obviously, but what I really care about are the cool posters designed to promote many of the WPA's programs. All of these images and hundreds more are available as part of the Library of Congress's "Posters of the WPA" collection. I've simply picked what I feel are some of the most visually appealing and added my usual pithy commentary. As you'll see, these great images are very much of their time and most display an Art Deco sensibili...
Movies That Defined My Youth, Part 1

Movies That Defined My Youth, Part 1

Movies
Each of us has strong ties to movies, shows or music from our youth. All it takes is one scene or one chord to send you back to the days when life seemed simpler and shelves were higher. Growing up in New Jersey, many of these movies were seen in regular rotation on WPIX Channel 11 (before it became one of those crappy WB/UPN/CW networks). Because of this, it was years before I saw the unedited versions of these films. Having also seen most of these movies as an adult, I can verify that some have definitely aged better than others. Weird Science (1985) - Director/writer John Hughes dialed down the angst a bit, and traded it in for an abundance of cheap laughs - not that there's anything wrong with that. Michael Anthony Hall (Gary) was on a serious roll by the time this was rele...
I heart LOAD”*”,8

I heart LOAD”*”,8

Games & Toys
You kids don't know how good you have it now, what with your PlayStations and your Xboxes. Back in my day, you had type stuff to play games! I speak of course about the ol' Commodore 64, one of the funnest computers ever. Oh sure, it did other things like home finances and such, but it basically became one of the early gaming systems. Well it seems the magic is back baby! A little outfit called Commodore Gaming is set to revive the classic moniker in conjunction with a new high-end gaming system. Granted, it seems this new company has no relation to the one that brought us such timeless gaming masterpieces as Maniac Mansion, Skate or Die!, and the Epyx Games series. But for one brief second, this news transported me back to the glory days of BASIC, floppy disks, and pirated ga...
Two Guys, We Hardly Knew Ye

Two Guys, We Hardly Knew Ye

Ephemera
I never pass up an opportunity to purchase a reminder of my childhood. Toys, books, music, you name it. I got just such an opportunity a few years ago at a flea market in Dover, New Jersey. I was just about to leave this one particularly interesting booth empty-handed when I spotted a bag of these beauties: I don't smoke, so purchasing a bag of matchbooks probably seems like a silly idea. But you see, that's how nostalgia works. And besides, it was like a dollar for the whole bunch. Back in the day (up until the early '80s), the name Two Guys was synonymous in the Northeast with discount stores. It was sort of the Wal-Mart of its day, minus the shady business practices. A typical family outing to Two Guys could yield everything to new records (the vinyl kind) to a window ...
The Best $9.99 I’ve Ever Spent (Part 1)

The Best $9.99 I’ve Ever Spent (Part 1)

Advertising, Retrotisements
A few years ago I stumbled across a product I never thought I'd see -- a two-DVD set of nothing but old TV commercials. Now, to most people this probably sounds like the dumbest concept in the history of ever. But to me, finding this was better than finding 10 bucks behind the sofa. In a testament to my bizarre notion of what is entertaining, I think I've watched it at least 5 or 6 times already. I don't know if this could really qualify as nostalgia for me, since the bulk of these commercials originally aired years before I was born, so it's not as if I'm using these to return me to my childhood. The set is priced at $9.99 for a reason. The video quality of a lot of these commercials is marginal, which is understandable. A 30 or 40-year old Hamm's Beer commercial doesn't exactly warran...