Pepsi or Coke? Choose your side

 

cola-warsCoke and Pepsi have been at each other’s throats for almost 3 decades,  competing for top cola of the USA. They have rallied back and forth with television advertisements and marketing campaigns, which took an interesting turn in the Eighties. Coke has been my favorite choice between the two. However, Prof Boles and I definitely agree that Dr. Pepper is actually the best cola ever…

  • But back to the eighties. Coca Cola had dominated the cola scene over Pepsi for most of the Seventies, but in the early Eighties Pepsi began rapidly closing the market gap between them. It seemed that the general public favored the sweeter-tasting Pepsi over the classic Coca Cola, especially after the the famous Pepsi Taste Challenge.

  • In response, Coca Cola launched a new product, Diet Coke, at a high-profile press conference in New York City on July 8, 1982. Reporters packed the Hyatt Hotel, where Coca-Cola USA President Brian Dyson announced that “the most significant new product introduction in the entire 96-year history of The Coca-Cola Company” would be available in the Big Apple within days.

Because, why not have a giant kick line? I wonder if the girls received free Diet Coke!

  • Pepsi came right back with the one, the only, Michael Jackson. He became the first international pop star to be a spokesperson for Pepsi and paved the way for other iconic endorsements of the Eighties like David Bowie, Tina Tuner, and Madonna.

Check out this commercial with our favorite Michael J. Fox!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlXff_UFgKI

  • With Pepsi’s raise to fame, Coca Cola couldn’t help but question their own formula. They reformulated the classic Coca-Cola and introduced New Coke in 1985.

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  • The American public’s reaction to the change was negative and the new cola was considered a major marketing failure. The introduction of the original formula, re-branded as “Coca-Cola Classic”, resulted in a significant gain in sales. Hello? I feel like this was the most brilliant marketing ploy ever. ‘Let’s change our product, then introduce it back with a classic image!’

WHO’S SIDE ARE YOU ON?

Listen to the Music

A lot of people have their own genre or genres of music that they love and listen to on a daily basis. I personally like to listen to rap, hip-hop, and r&b. These genres have changed over the years so much, it’s almost like two separate genres. I don’t even think its same music. Some prefer the old school and some really enjoy the new school hip-hop. I think it’s hard for me to decide because I love the old and the new. I feel like they’re both equally great in their own ways. Back in the day rappers rapped about what happened in their lives and real life situations they’ve been in. A lot of rappers, today and back in the day, gear towards rapping about drugs, sex, and money. Now not all rappers do that but some do, and some to it occasionally and some rap about it all the time which isn’t really the best kind of rap in my opinion.

I have a favorite rapper from the 80s as well as now. I would say my favorite from the 80s was probably Michael Jackson and LL Cool J. Today I would my favorite rappers are J.Cole and Drake. As far as R&B goes I would have to say Justin TimberLake. I think he’s the closest comparison of Michael Jackson.

LL Cool J

LL Cool J! He has is 80s swag in this picture. Check out his song. See if you like it!

JCole:Drake

 

J.Cole and Drake. Two of my favorite new school rappers and hip-hop artists. The music they make is of its own kind and it takes a certain person to listen to both. Basically you have to be cool enough to listen to this kind of stuff.

Song #1: In the Morning

Song #2: Jodeci

Tell me which song you think is better.

This is the last one. The JT/MJ song. Love Never Felt So Good. 

 

Inventions of the 80s

Imagine this: You’re at Cape Canaveral waiting to watch a Space Shuttle launch. You have a great view since you recently ditched your crappy glasses for brand new contacts. On your drive over to the coast you played through your new CD collection- Duran Duran, Madonna, Depeche Mode, and Aerosmith. On the way back you might listen to some Michael Jackson or Poison. If you’re feeling extra sullen, maybe you’ll put on The Cure or The Smiths. Hoping to capture the trip, you brought along a disposable camera, a cheap investment for life-long memories. Your mind drifts to your new PC sitting back at home. While you’re excited to see the shuttle launch, you’re also excited to peruse the manual of the PC you just bought. After all, you’re one of your first friends to finally get one. Now if only you could figure out how to type in commands to make it work…

Does this sound outdated? If it does–you’re right. This imaginary scene was set in the 80s. At the time, everything mentioned above was new to the market. Other inventions of the time included the nicotine patch, Prozac, HDTVs, DNA fingerprinting, and a (permanent) artificial heart.

In list form, here are 10 Inventions from the 80s and some of their details:

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1. Space Shuttles
-“Orbiting scientific laboratory capable of hosting numerous experiments designed to increase our understanding of the universe.”
-Inspired by the lunar missions of the ’60s and ’70s
-First launch was Colombia on April 12, 1981
-There have been 130 launches since the first in April of 1981

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2. Disposable Contact Lenses
-Made losing lenses less costly
-Lenses could be disposed of after one use; did not require regular cleaning and care like previous lenses

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3. Compact Discs
-Revolutionized the music industry
-Easier to store than vinyl albums and did not degrade over time (like cassettes and 8 tracks)

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4. Disposable Cameras
-Cornered the tourism industry; perfect for traveling/travelers
-Cheap and easy to use. Taking photographs no longer required a huge investment.

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5. Personal Computers (IBM and Macintosh)
-IBM was synonymous with personal computers in the 1980s; ancestor to the Windows-based PC used today
-Apple launched the Macintosh, the first personal computer to use a graphics-based user interface (used icons to represent programs and featured a mouse)
-Most computers required users to type in commands to launch programs

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Urban Dictionary: 80s Slang

I stumbled across a few blog posts that claim to have the ultimate glossary of eighties terms, but here are my top 10 favorite eighties phrases!

Airhead: (noun) someone who's head is full of air

This term was invented to describe a Valley Girl, aka someone who flaunts their inability to make intelligent comments.

Nowadays I think it still carries the same meaning.

Example: “Did you hear what Mason said in class today?”
                “Yeah, he’s such an airhead!”

Cowabunga!: (exclamation) uttered when someone is about to do something crazy or adventurous

Cowabunga is a catchphrase used by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987 TV series). It is a well known ’80s battle cry.

I always thought that it was more of a surfer term, for catching waves, but I’m going to try and incorporate it into my life more. I might have to ‘cowabunga’ into my seat during my next Methods for Operations Research exam.

Crucial: (adjective) incredibly radical or cool

Example: “I just got a life time supply of ice cream! Crucial!”

I don’t think I have every heard anyone use crucial with this meaning, but I like it.

Crunchy: (adjective) to be extremely jealous

Example: “Shereef just got the new pair of Air Jordans! I’m so crunchy.”

I LOVE THIS TERM! I am definitely going to incorporate it into my own lingo.

DINK: (noun) acronym that stands for "dual income, no kids"

Basically a DINK is a Yippie couple with no children and lots of money to spend on themselves. If you don’t think these yuppies exist, check out their website,

http://www.dinklife.com

Eat my shorts!: An expression of mild contempt

First used by Judd Nelson in The Breakfast Club, Bart made it even more famous as one of his catch phrases on The Simpsons.

If you like this phrase and want to show your love with some feminine flair, check out these awesome t-shirts, here

Example:  “Nice shirt, Kowalski.”
                “Eat my shorts, dude!”

Gag me with a spoon!: (exclamation) A Valley Girl expression connoting extreme disgust
Teenage angst at its worst. This phrase used to describe how unpleasant a situation was, could be, might have been at come point.
Example:  “Hey Ashley, remember when you dated John? He’s so gross!”
                 “Yeah, gag me with a spoon.”
Have a cow: (verb) to be very worried, upset, or angry about something

Another catch phrase made famous by Bart Simpson, meaning “Calm down!” or “Chill out!”.

Example: “Hey, did you hear about how Sal got bulldozed over while he was on vacation?”
               “Yeah, he’s going to have a cow when he finds out!”

No shit, Sherlock: (exclamation) what you say when someone says something very obvious
This phrase is usually followed by the retort, “F*ck you, Watson!”. This is a bit more effective in insulting someone rather than just calling him Captain obvious!
Tubular: (adjective) so totally cool as to defy description

The first time I ever heard tubular used, it was in “Up On the House Top” from Jimmy Buffet’s christmas album. The song features Buffett yelling “Tubular dude” and other such things at Ol’ Saint Nick in the most clichéd surfer voice he can manage. Again, I don’t think I’ve ever heard this term used anywhere else! I think I might leave this one where it belongs, in the eighties.

 

 

What’s your favorite eighties-ism?

The 80s Valley Girl

HThe 1980s brought upon a new style, language, and just a way of life: the Valley Girl.

The term ‘Valley Girl’ originated in the 1970s, but was at its peak in the 1980s and it referred to a socio-economic class of middle and upper-class white women living in the San Fernando Valley, California. Over time, the traits and behaviors of Valley Girls represented a bunch of spoiled, ditzy girls most interested in shopping, appearance, and social status. They even had their own dialect, referred to as Valleyspeak. (Ex. Like, as if!)

Want to speak like a Valley Girl?! Click here for some tips on learning the lingo.

In 1981 came the release of a hit single by Frank Zappa entitled “Valley Girl,” on which Moon Zappa, Frank’s 14-year-old daughter, delivered a monologue of meaningless phrases in Valleyspeak behind the music. This song made some phrases famous, like “grody to the max”. Some of the terms used by Moon were not actually Valley phrases, but were surfer terms instead (ex. “tubular” and “gnarly”). But because of the song’s popularity, some of these surfer phrases actually entered the speech of real Valley teens.

Here’s the song:

The 1995 film, Clueless, also featured a Valley Girl in the form of the main character, Cher (Alicia Silverstone)

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Cher uses the words “like,” “as if,” “whatever” and “duh” a good amount throughout the film. She also refers to attractive men and women as “bettys” and “baldwins.”

Here, we get a glimpse of some of her Valleyspeak:

Valspeak is also heard quite a lot in Bill and Ted’s Excellent AdventureBill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, and Wayne’s World.

There was also the movie, Valley Girl, which starred Nicholas Cage. It’s about Julie, a girl from the valley, who crosses, paths with a boy named Randy, a punk from the city. Their two worlds collide and love is found.

Now, clothing designers are even showcasing apparel following the Valley Girl trend…

by popular designer Wildfox

by popular designer Wildfox

Popular retailer NastyGal even did an entire Lookbook following the Valley Girl trend:

Screen shot 2014-06-07 at 11.46.21 PM

See the entire collection here!

Oh and…

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The Dream Team

They had the best players in the NBA, they competed and represented the United States of America, and they came to win the USA a gold medal. The Dream Team is said to be one of the best Men’s Basketball Team to compete in the Olympics. The 1984 Olympics, the Dream Team compete in Los Angeles, California. Team consisted of MJ, Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Magic Johnson, Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen, Larry Bird, the list goes on of all the players on that team. All of the best players in the NBA and in the country, all legends, all hall of famers of the game.

The Dream Team was undefeated, going 8-0 in the 1984 Olympics, averaging 95 points a game. Their opponents only averaging 63 points a game. When the Dream Team won, they won big; there would no holding back from the best in the world. They were not to be reckoned with. “We just want to go out and bring a gold medal back to our country.” Larry Bird said this in the trials before the Olympics games. The team was not only driven by their competitive nature, they also wanted to bring a medal back to their country. The were Americans and they wanted everyone to know they were the best.

The Dream Team 20th Anniversary!

The video talks about the road of the Dream Team and looks back at all the great players, plays and moments of the USA Men’s Basketball Olympic team. The true greatness shown of this team is truly inspiring. The great game of basketball played at such a high level is something special.

Those that were alive in this time and got to watch this team, good for you. I’m extremely jealous; wow what an experience to look back on and remember you were able to watch history in the making.

 

Dream Team

Movies of the 80s: National Lampoon’s Vacation

You may know that John Hughes wrote 16 Candles, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, and Ferris Bueller, but did you also know he wrote National Lampoon’s Vacation starring Chevy Chase? There have been a total of seven National Lampoon movies made with the original company and dozens of others made as spin-offs. John Hughes only wrote and directed three of them; 1983’s National Lampoon’s Vacation, European Vacation (’85), and Christmas Vacation (’89).  

vacation 59

The movie National Lampoon’s Vacation originally appeared as a story in National Lampoon’s Magazine. It was written by Hughes and titled “Vacation ’58.” In fact, you can still read the original short story at the following link:

http://www.bizbag.com/Vacation/Vacation%2058.htm


When a story starts off with the sentence “If Dad hadn’t shot Walt Disney in the leg, it would have been our best vacation ever,” how can you possibly resist?

Prior to National Lampoon’s Vacation, Hughes had only directed a handful of other projects. They include the TV series Delta House, and the films Class Reunion and Mr. Mom. At the time, he did not have the star power he would later go on to achieve.

The synopsis on IMDB says “The Griswold family’s cross-country drive to the Walley World theme park proves to be much more arduous than they ever anticipated.” This brief description doesn’t even begin to cover the “adventures” the Griswolds go in in pursuit of Wally World. Substitute “Disney World” for “Wally World” and you may get a better sense of the movie. If you have grown up in or near Orlando you may have trouble understanding the lengths the Griswolds go to in order to visit a theme park. As someone who was born and raised in Winter Park, I didn’t quite understand the draw of driving cross-country in a crowded car with your siblings just to visit an overcrowded and overpriced amusement park. The hour-long drive I had to undergo as a child in order to visit Mickey Mouse seemed daunting enough. However, if you’re not local, you might have a better understanding of the excitement that surrounds a family trip to one of the most popular amusement parks in the world. Either way, this film is still funny thirty years after its release.

Chevy Chase, of Saturday Night Live fame (and currently NBC’s Community), stars as Clark Griswold. He really was an excellent comedic actor when the film came out. His timing was fantastic and he played a perfect frustrated and overly-stressed father.

Vacation1983

If you haven’t seen the film, it’s worth a watch; it currently has a “fresh” review of 94% on Rottentomatoes.com, which is extremely positive. As alluded to, the movie is about a family trying to make their way to Wally World, “America’s Favorite Family Fun Park.” Chevy Chase’s character, Clark insists on driving, despite his wife’s insistence that they fly. This is a decision he will ultimately come to regret. He and his two children pack up their station wagon and attempt to drive cross-country (from Chicago to LA) to visit the infamous theme park. Multiple mishaps occur along the way, resulting in maximum frustration (and plenty of humor for the viewer). Surprisingly, the movie has a body count. Without spoiling anything, I will say that two characters die. This only serves to amplify Clark’s anxiety and nearly drives him (no pun intended) mad. By the time the remaining family members do reach Wally World, chaos–and hilarity–ensues.

Bands of the 80s- Pet Shop Boys

Who is listed as the “Most Successful Duo in UK Music History?” You might not know the answer, but many children of the 80s do. The answer is the band “Pet Shop Boys.” In fact, they’re still around today and most recently released an album in 2013.

Pet Shop Boys, like Depeche Mode, fall under the genre of electronic pop. The group consists of two members: Neil Tennant (main vocals, keyboards, occasional guitar) and Chris Lowe (keyboards, occasional vocals).

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Here are some facts about the band:
-Neil and Chris met in an electronics shop in Kings Road in Chelsea, London, in August of 1981
-Bonded over mutual interest in dance music
-Future hit songs such as “It’s a Sin,” “West End Girls,” “Rent,” “Jealousy” were created in Tennant’s flat in Chelsea
-Initially called themselves “West End” because of their love for London’s West End, but later came up with Pet Shop Boys, derived from friends of theirs “who worked in a Pet Shop in Ealing.”
-Their “Big Break” came when Tennant was assigned by Smash Hits (a pop music magazine) to interview The Police in New York. The duo was obsessed with their current producer “Bobby Orlando. ” After hearing the demo tape Tennant brought with him, Bobby O suggested they make a record together.

One of the duo’s first hits: “It’s a Sin”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7I5UaB7mx4&feature=kp 

Pet Shop Boys recorded 11 songs with Bobby Orlando from 1981-1984; they cut ties in 1985.

In 1985 the band re-recorded “West End Girls” with another producer. The new version entered at a low position on the charts but slowly rose. However, according to Wikipedia, “by January 1986, it achieved the top spot. It was subsequently number one in the United States, Canada, Finland, Hong Kong, Lebanon, Israel, New Zealand and Norway and sold an estimated 1.5 million copies worldwide.” To date, it is their best known song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_MciWnfaZQ

-After the success of “West End Girls,” the duo released another single named “Love Comes Quickly” in February of 1986. Their debut album, Please, did not come out until March 1986. They initially tried to tour for this album, but expenses grew too high and it [the tour] was cancelled. They did, however, perform “Love Comes Quickly” and “West End Girls” at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards.
-Their second single “It’s a Sin” (posted above) caused controversy when they were accused of plagiarism of Cat Stevens’s “Wild World.” What do you think? Here is Cat Stevens for comparison:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHXpnZi9Hzs

The band went on to release 11 more albums: Please (’86), Actually (’87), Introspective (’88), Behaviour (’90), Very (’93), Bilingual (’96), Nightlife (’99), Release (’02), Fundamental (’06), Yes (’09), Elysium (’12), and Electric (’13)

As of 2003, Pet Shop Boys were ranked (by Billboard’s Joel Whitburn as the “fourth most successful act on the U.S. Dance/Club Play charts.” Leading the list were some voices you may be familiar with: none other than Madonna, Janet Jackson, and Donna Summer.  

Caddy Shack

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If you don’t know Caddy Shack please just leave. Stop reading and leave, I don’t care if you are five or fifty you can not humanly function without the experience of watching Caddy Shack. It is a classic of all classics. You have the dynamic duo Chevy Chase and Bill Murray fresh off the SNL scene. They carry the entire film. Guess what? You can actually hate golf and still enjoy this movie!

Alright I’ll give you quick run down of the film. It takes place on a golf course (for our slower viewers) and more or less follows a caddy who is trying to win a scholarship for school. This course is part of a snotty country club which is practically controlled by the Judge (you’re going to hate the guy).

Anyway our caddy Danny starts to learn some tricks of the trade from an exceptional golfer Ty Webb (Chevy Chase) and ends up joining Chevy’s team in the Caddy Day golf tournament.

But really this movie isn’t about the golf or the caddying, it’s about the gofer.

Dancing_Gopher_Caddyshack1

The gofer is destroying the golf course, as most gofers do and it is up to Carl Spackler (Bill Murray) to stop the varmint. This is where movie history is made. Some of the most quotable scenes come from the interaction of these two characters.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gf3QIkQRGtl

 

But this isn’t the only comedic genius in the film. Meet Al Czervik (Rodney Dangerfield) probably one of the loudest and most obnoxious person you have ever met. You love this guy, this guy is the best, he is the worlds greatest antagonizer, the dude does not care.

How many one liners does this guy have? Obviously not enough.

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE

The niece of the Judge is a hard ten. Lacey Underall (Cindy Morgan)  doesn’t mind getting around but we love her for it.

Lets not forget Chevy Chase

I won’t spoil anymore but watch the film, like i said it is classic.

P.S. Bill and Chevy don’t have lines in the entire film

 

All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I’m fine

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Going through high school did you ever come across that one kid who just never really seemed to be with it? You ask the kid a question and before he answers his mouth opens, roll in the back of his head, and you can almost see the little clogs in his head trying to process your question? I’m sure you have, everyone has. This kid is the most laid back kid in the entire school. He is almost impossible to hate, if you’re a student. This kid is a teacher’s worst nightmare, he simply does not care.

Enter Stage left, Jeff Spicoli

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Jeff Spicoli, played by Sean Penn, is this kid, he is the one who does not really see the point of high school. In Fast Times at Ridgemont High there are multiple plots, but none better Spicolli and his lack of ambition.

Spicolli himself goes through a transition from the kid who did not care to graduate to the kid who found out he has the ability to graduate. This realization was due in part to Mr. Hand.

Top10Teachers3

 

Mr. Hand saw that Spicolli had the potential to graduate even if he didn’t see it himself. Each day Mr. Hand would try to get him to learn with not much success. Then he finally stepped up his game and went over to Jeff’s house. He made him study that entire night until he learned all about US History.

Hey I know that guy

Learning about Cuba, having a feast

I don’t know

Filmed in 1985 and based on a story Rollin Stone published about the life a typical high kid in the 1980s we see many resemblances in todays life. The film fully captures what it was like for teens in the 80s and the film continues to stay relatable to today’s high school teens.

All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I’m fine

Surfer’s Dream

 

Weird Science

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Filmed in 1985, John Hughes produced a teen film based on the premise if Al Feldstein’s “Made of the Future”. Like many of John Hughes’s films, this one takes place in a fictitious suburb, Shermer, in Chicago, Illinois.

The plot is focused around two nerds, Gary Wallace, played by Anthony Michael Hall, and Whyatt Donnelly, played by IIan Mitchell-Smith. The opening scene starts with the two boys watching the girls PE session while talking about what they would do to two specific girls in the group. This scene ends when two of the school bullies Ian and max played by Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Rusler, pants the two boys causing a lot of humiliation.

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From this the two decide to create a woman, but not the blow up doll or paper merche style woman, but a real life like woman. This part of the film is similar to the classic tale of Frankenstein. Using Wyatt’s computer and hooking it up to a barbie, the boys are able to create this perfect woman (Kelly Lebrock).

Their initial plan is to create some form of popularity for themselves, the two boys are tired of being the nerds that no one notices and they hope that this woman could be their big ticket to popularity.

But in order for this to happen the two must grow as individuals and realize that they don’t need to be popular to be happy. They eventually learn to be happy with themselves and in return are happy all together.

The film ends with a giant party at Wyatts house and the entire school is invited. But even though it is their party, Wyatt and Gary are still too afraid to socialize with others.

It is up to Lisa to change this and by doing so she creates barbarian bike riders and has them crash the party. It is up to the two boys to get them out of the house and save the girls of their dreams.

Opening Gym Scene

http://social.rollins.edu/wpsites/filmsofthe80s/wp-admin/post-new.php

It’s Alive

Uninvited Guests

Also this movie’s title song was performed by American new wave band Oingo Boingo

 

‘Easy A’ Loves the 80s

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The 2010 teenage comedy, Easy A, is a happy-go-lucky romantic comedy about a high school teenager played by Emma Stone, who’s an innocent girl that uses her school’s rumor mill to make a name for herself. The film is designed to take after the famous novel, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, because Emma Stone commits fake acts of adultery to gain popularity and status, but instead she gains an awful reputation.
Notably, this film is partially known for all of its famous 1980s movie references. The main character, Olive, creates these web diaries in which she shares information about all her exploits. One web diary in particular features her referencing all the great ’80s movies about romance, in which she opens with, “Whatever happened to chivalry? Does it only exist in ’80s movies?”
Here’s that web diary:
All these iconic ’80s movie references, in order are:
Say Anything, 1989

Say Anything, 1989

Can't Buy Me Love, 1987

Can’t Buy Me Love, 1987

Sixteen Candles, 1984

Sixteen Candles, 1984

The Breakfast Club, 1985

The Breakfast Club, 1985

And finally, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, 1986

And finally, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 1986

Another subtle reference to an ’80s film occurs when the main character, Olive is sharing a moment with her love interest Todd. He lets her know he has fallen with her and over the radio we hear a Cary Brothers cover of the famous ’80s song “If You Were Here,” originally by Thompson Twins. This song is actually the song playing when Jake Ryan and Sam share their first kiss in Sixteen Candles!

Here’s the original song:
In the end of the film, Olive Pendergast does, in fact, get her perfect ’80s movie ending! We get 3 of those ’80s movie references again in this scene alone- Breakfast Club’s “Don’t You Forget About Me” is playing on the speakers Todd is holding over his head (Say Anything) and he even takes her on a lawnmower ride like in Can’t Buy Me Love. What a guy.
Here’s that final sequence:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKLX5Xfvte4
You’re welcome.

Speak & Spell

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The popular ’80s toy, the Speak & Spell, was an educational toy designed to teach kids how to spell words. It made its debut into the world in 1978, but peaked among the youth until the early ’90s. It was everything a parent could hope for in a toy: it educated children while they thought they were playing a game!

How does it work though? The Speak & Spell would speak a word and then ask the player to spell that word. You then would proceed to spell out that word using the keyboard, and following your anticipation, the “game” would let you know if you were correct or not.

The toy even had mini-games that came with the console such as “Mystery Word,” which worked like a game of Hangman.

Kids loved the fact that this toy could literally talk back to them, as other similar games invented prior did not have that capability. Commercials began to appear on TV…

One even featured Mr. Bill Cosby!:

Speak & Spell became a necessity for every 80s household, and we started to see it featured in popular movies and songs. For example, the Speak & Spell is what our favorite little alien E.T. used to “phone home!” (Noteworthy: Mary saying “Ouuuuuch”)

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He makes a makeshift communicator to talk to his family on his home planet, and here we see the famous Speak & Spell as a key component of it, because, how else would you contact life on another planet?!

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Similarly, we see the Speak & Spell makes a (slightly horrifying) appearance in the third installment of the Poltergeist series, Poltergeist III, starring the late Heather O’Rourke in 1988. Before the spirits come out to mess with her, she is playing with her Speak & Spell.
Now, the Speak & Spell is still around for newer generations, with an iPhone/iPad app!
word-wizard-pic1
Not quite the same, but still cool.
You’re welcome.

 

Ralph Steadman: Unreal perspective on the world

Growing up, my parents were huge advocates for the eccentric artist Ralph Steadman. My favorite collection has always been his1973 illustrations of the classic story, Alice in Wonderland.

I guess I’m one of those kids who is ‘drawn to the strange and unusual’ and these paintings struck a note with me. My love for Steadman has steadily grown since I have been in collage, especially the day I met a young woman who had a tattoo of another one of Steadman’s renowned works on her back shoulder. She wound up be becoming one of my best friends and my great-grandbig in my sorority family. For all of you Jurassic Park fans, she also has a huge T-rex tattoo on her thigh (obviously my second favorite).

I wondered what kind of work Steadman put out in the eighties. The piece above was an illustration for the novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson. It was originally published in two parts in Rolling Stone magazine in 1971, and later made into a book.

The eighties was a strange time for EVERYONE, especially Steadman. I discovered two collections Steadman put out in the eighties that are very strange and thought provoking.

Ralph discovered a new way to manipulate polaroids while on vacation in Turkey during the hot summer of 1980. He began distorting and remolding the faces of the rich and famous.

These polaroids are so visually striking and eerie. The distorted image of Marilyn Monroe represents Steadman’s commentary on conventional icons of beauty. And Nixon literally looks like something that has crawled out of hell. His collection has been celebrated for its satiric style, much like caricatures/political cartoons.

My second favorite collection Steadman released in the 80’s is his 1989 collection called, HUMANITARIAN.

Ralph has always been a humanitarian at heart and his concerned for the welfare of the world is embraced in this collection.

“His continual inspiration has always been the desire to change the world, his continual disappointment is that he has not changed it enough. Steadman makes us face the worst in ourselves in this collection.” – comments on HUMANITARIAN

He has donated countless images to charity and provided the art for many campaigns including Save the Children, The Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture and the Campaign which eventually led to the freedom of the hostage John McCarthy.

 “It makes me so desperately sad to witness just how unforgivably wretched our world has become.” – Ralph Steadman

The Gaslight Anthem and Their Ties to The Boss

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The Gaslight Anthem are an American rock band from New Brunswick, New Jersey that formed in 2006. They have released 4 full-length records since their conception. Their most recent album, Handwritten was released in July of 2012. The Gaslight Anthem are representative of a long history of Jersey punk bands like The Misfits to bands like The Bouncing Souls. They embody that certain Jersey Shore Sound that we’ve come to know from back in the day with Bruce Springsteen’s earliest records. Like The Boss, the town from which the Gaslight Anthem is from plays a major role in their material both musically and lyrically. Guitarist and lead singer, Brian Fallon is a huge Springsteen fan, and it shows in the way he sings, his stage presence, and the area of town from which he came from. His other influences range from The Clash, The Replacements, Neil Young, and Tom Petty. None of those other artists really compare to Brian’s admiration for Bruce, however. He idolizes him as a person and a performer.

In June of 2009 Bruce Springsteen joined The Gaslight Anthem onstage at the Glastonbury Festival in England. Fallon was approached by The Boss himself, asking if he could join them in playing Gaslight’s “The ’59 Sound”, the title track off of their breakthrough album. Fallon said that Bruce learned the chords to the song himself, joined them onstage, and when they walked off he knew the band would never be viewed the same way again. The very next night Bruce was playing in Hyde Park and asked Brian Fallon this time to join him onstage to sing along with him to Bruce’s “No Surrender”, which is not only my favorite song Bruce ever wrote, but also my favorite song of all time.

Every time I watch this video I get emotional, imagining what an honor it must have been to be asked to join your hero onstage during a performance to sing along with him. I have watched The Gaslight Anthem transform from a small punk rock band from Jersey into heirs to Bruce’s New Jersey Rock ‘N Roll empire.