Friday, July 22, 2011

Retro Heatwave Video of the Day - Hot In The City

People say that relentless heat can mess you up in many ways. It can make some people nauseous, dehydrate you, give you a headache, make you drowsy or in some cases, it destroys your ability spell ! I'm not bying itt thoughh. I thunck thets a lode of crips. 

Yup, it's been a pretty hot one this week with temperature records being broken, hydro grids being strained to the limit and people with air conditioning suddenly having friends over unexpectedly. You can actually buy a raw steak and cook it on your dashboard during the drive home. 

While some would say this heat wave is a result of global warming, others say it is the coming of the end. I just think it's a great excuse to hear a great summer retro classic !

 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Happy Birthday I.B.M. - Thanks For Changing Everything


Back on June 16, 1911, a group of technology companies merged and called themselves the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company. Kind of catchy but later in 1924 they decided they needed something catchier and so renamed themselves International Business Machines which is now better known to the world as IBM. 


IBM has dominated the technology sector for most of it's 100 year history by having the uncanny ability to foresee where technology is heading and having the right product mix available to support the need. They also were smart enough to recognize a dieing technology or something well on it's way to being a commodity and got out of that business before losing money. 


Some examples of this would be getting out of the timeclock business, selling off their typewriter division to a little company called Lexmark ones they recognized the word processor was about to crush the once mighty typewriter, selling off their hard drive division to Hitachi even though they invented them, and one of the most surprising was selling of their PC division to Lenovo back in 2004 for a cool $1.8 billion. Considering how cheap and dirty the PC market has become, you can't say it wasn't a smart move on their part. 


Some other inventions to their credit include the web server, the punch card, electric typewriters, mainframe computers, laser surgical procedures and nanotubes to name a few. Although other companies come to mind when the subject of innovation comes up, the fact remains that in 2010 alone, IBM had a total of 5896 new patents to their name which is the most of any company in the world including GE, Apple, Google or Sony.

That's not to say they haven't made a few mistakes along the way. Back in 1981, when they introduced their Personal Computer, they hired a little known company to create the operating system. Since IBM believed that the hardware was mightier than the software, they agreed to allow the small company to keep the rights to the software and allow them to license the operating system, or DOS, as they wished. This little company was Microsoft and that deal helped make Bill Gates one of the richest men in the world.


Years later IBM tried to jump back into the operating system market and challenge Microsoft with their own version of an operating system but needless to say, Windows prevailed and IBM stuck to what it does best. 



 


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Retro Music Producer of the Day - Arthur Baker



One of the driving forces in early hip hop and Electrofunk was DJ / producer Arther Baker. Starting as a club DJ in the early 70s, he began experimenting with the new electronic sounds of the day and began producing remixes on analog tape. Long before digital took over, to create a quality mix required skill and patience since most of what you were doing was pretty much live. You needed mad skillz back in the day not like these days were software downloaded for free can create a remix on a whim.

Though you may not have heard of him, you certainly have heard his work since his collaborations include artists like Afrika Bambaataa and the Soul Sonic Force, Pet Shop Boys, Cyndi Lauper, Hall and Oats, Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, ABC, Nenah Cherry and New Order to name a few. He was actually responsible for taking an obscure, instrumental piece from a 1984 New Order album "Lies, Power and Corruption" and churning it into the now classic Blue Monday.  



His style was easily recognizable with heavy emphasis on the rhythm track with heavy use of drum machines and 808 sounds that pretty much defined the genre. He brought some contemporary  artists to the mainstream with his remixes and also forces some artists to expand their horizons a bit by introducing new life into their usual style.



In 1985, he and Steven Van Zandt created Artists United Against Apartheid and created the anti-Apartheid anthem "Sun City" which helped raise global awareness of Apartheid in South Africa and was credited for being a major factor in it's eventual demise. (Who says music can't change the world ?)  


His influence is still felt today and continues to inspire new artists and DJs as well as producers and remixers. Here's a few more classic examples of his early style.







  

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Retro Video of the Day - Babe We're Gonna Love Tonight


Growing up in Canada in the 80s exposed me to many Euro inspired music groups and to be honest back then I wasn't that in tune with who was who in the music world so every once in a while I'd pick up on a group and think they were some avante garde, new wave group from the U.K. or France. Lime was one of those groups. 

Formed in Montreal in the early 80s by the husband and wife team of Denis and Denyse LePage, they took full advantage of the exploding electronic music scene and created a bunch of Euro-disco inspired tracks. The story of Lime does have a few twists in it though (Lime twist.....get it ?....never mind) with some speculating that Denis and Denyse were in fact the same person that recorded both the male and female parts himself and used two attractive people to front the band when touring kinda like Milli Vanelli ended up doing years later. Regardless, they did leave behind some club classics.

Babe, We're Gonna Love Tonight is one such classic from their second album Lime II released back in 1981. It reached #6 on the U.S. Dance charts in 1982 and the video has all the classic elements of music videos from the early 80s. Cheesy graphics, awkward edits, cheap effects, bad lip syncing, boring dance routines and the list goes on. Not sure if the couple in the video are the actual band or the "attractive" people chosen to front the band on tour. Either way though - this track sounded great in a crowded club and always got the party started back in the day. 






Tuesday, June 7, 2011

When Weiners Were Hot Dogs

It kind of sucks when things you grew up with and liked or possibly loved get twisted into something different and are forever tied to some stupid act or worse a really really really really dumb guy. When I was a kid, Oscar Mayer was synonymous with delicious hot dogs or bologna. A wiener was something you looked forward to at a ballgame or a cookout. Now, when someone says wiener, you immediately think of:




Oh sorry, that's a picture of a twit not a wiener........ or is it both....... hmmmm, so confused now. Honestly though, who could have seen it coming. Anthony Weiner always looked so confident, so professional and well adjusted. A man of power and resolve. Why would there be any reason after enjoying moderate political success that he'd crave and need the admiration of young women to feel powerful and accomplished? I'm sure as a young lad he got his ya ya's out so that as an adult he could keep his libido in check. After all the action he must have got in high school and college he'd surely be able to keep his wiener in his pants right ?


   Oh snap.......... never mind. 








Saturday, May 21, 2011

Doomsday To Do List - So Much To Do, So Little Time



As you've no doubt already heard, today is the end of the world so if you have any unfinished business to attend to, get moving and get er' done. One thing's for sure, it's not like we didn't have any warnings about the inevitable coming of the apocalypse. Signs were everywhere.


Still not convinced ? If you were an almighty power and gave your creation free will to take all the beauty you've given them to go forth and enhance life on earth and harness the wonders all around you and the best we come up with is this:


Wouldn't you cash in the chips and move on to something else too? Still not convinced ? How about this:


Granted - he is amusing but holy cow, where the hell do we go from here ?!?! So again, the end is literally around the corner so here's a list of things to do (or not to do) in lieu of the coming destruction.

1. Don't pay any debt. (Why bother?)
2. Run with scissors. (What's the worst that can happen, you're gonna die anyway)
3. Tell the neighborhood bully he's an idiot. (Even if he beats the crap out of you it will only hurt for a few hours)
4. Tell your office mates you're the one secretly passing the silent but deadly ones. (You think they're going to care at a time like this?)
5. Call you're cable company and order all the premium channels. (If you're gonna die, may as well have an awesome selection of viewing options)
6. Use real butter. (Seriously, you're going to worry about your cholesterol now ?)
7. Order and actually eat a baconator. (After eating one, world's end won't come quick enough)
8. Mix your recyclables in with your regular garbage. (No amount of recycling will save us now)
9. Rent a Ferrari and drive the bajeezus out of it. 
10. Do something really stupid.......... but what ? 




In the event that the world doesn't end, do not attempt anything on the previously mentioned list. They were only suggestions anyway. Yup - it's over folks. However you choose to spend you're last day on earth, hope you enjoy doing it and if at all possible - Keep It Retro !











R.I.P Randy "Macho Man" Savage (1952 -2011)



Sad news today from the world of professional "real" wrestling. Randy "Macho Man" Savage died tragically after suffering a heart attack while driving his SUV in Tampa, Florida. His wife, who was in the car with him, only suffered minor injuries.

Randall Mario Poffo held twenty championship titles during his professional career and along with Hulk Hogan was one of the primary drivers behind the success of the WWF and bringing professional wrestling to the mainstream.



He brought a unique style to the ring along with his raspy voice and trademark "Ohhhh yeaaah" and took full advantage of the marketing machine that was the WWF (now the WWE) and became one of their biggest stars. In typical wrestling form, he shifted side many times during his career going from bad guy to good guy making and breaking various alliances along the way and was "managed" for most of his career by his wife Elizabeth Ann "Miss Elizabeth" Hulette who died of a drug overdose in 2003. 



Wherever you stand on the subject of whether wrestling is real, you can't deny the incredible fitness required to survive in the ring and the punishment a body must endure. He was an athlete and he reinvented himself many times and always managed to climb back on top both in the ring and out. His greatest match without a doubt was in Wrestlemania III with Ricky Steamboat in what arguably the best match in wrestling history. 

 





Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Royal Wedding Retro Copycats

Time and time again there is evidence that nothing is new. It's all been done before. Everything is a remix. There are very rarely new and original ideas. Need more proof ? Check out the picture below of the recent Royal wedding of Will and Kate and the other classic Royal wedding in Cinderella which was a Disney movie from 1950.



Honestly, you'd think the British Royal family could come up with an original thought !!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Truth Is Out There - Super Heroes Run the White House

I was shocked to find out that the picture floating around of the U.S. President in the situation room watching the events unfold in Abbottabad were doctored. They lied damn it !! Unbelievable. However - the truth can not be suppressed. Here now is the un-retouched, original photo of the situation room on that fateful, historic night with the President and his staff. This explains a lot.

Un-edited actual image of the White House situation room May 1, 2011



Friday, May 13, 2011

What The Heck Were We So Scared Of - Friday the 13th Edition

I came across the original trailer for the now classic Friday the 13th. By today's standards, there isn't enough creepiness in the trailer to make anyone want to go see it. Honestly I've seen scarier scenes in Toy Story or an episode of the Wiggles. That Jeff dude on the Wiggles gives me the willies. Seriously, don't wake him. 



Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Return of the Commodore C64 - Seriously........

Back when the world of personal computing was young, Commodore computers pretty much were the ones to beat. The company offered a pretty compelling argument, if you're going to spend money on a gaming platform, why not spend it on an actual computer that played awesome (for the time) video games instead. 


With the success of the company's entry level personal computer, the VIC 20, Commodore released their next generation platform the C64 in 1982. This 8-bit wonder machine offered an unheard of 64K standard memory, standard audio and video that was better than IBM and Apple's offerings, all for a mere $595 which was far less expensive than anything comparable. It game with a built in RF modulator which allowed you to connect it to a TV and came built in with the Basic programming language on startup. Nothing could come close to that at the time.  

Commodore Data Cassette
The machine's success came in part from Commodore's decision to offer it through regular retail outlets, department stores and toy retailers as well as regular electronic stores. This coupled with the availability of over 10,000 titles helped push the total number of units sold to almost 17 million worldwide making it the best selling personal computer model of all time according to the Guiness Book of World Records. 

Despite its success and the release of newer and more powerful models, Commodore struggled and went bankrupt in 1994. As with most things these days, old is new again. 


Commodore USA has bought the rights and will be releasing a modernized version of the C64 featuring modern guts including a dual core 1.8Ghz Atom processor, Nvidia video chipset, up to 4GB of ram, memory readers, USB ports, HDMI outputs and built in WiFi. The price ? Just like 1982 starting at just $595. I'm not sure what that really says about technology when you think about it. I have more computing power in my toaster than the original C64 and it only cost me $20. Having said that, I can't play any games with it. 


Pre-orders have been strong and or many nostalgic users it will surely be a hit. The company plans to revive the VIC and Amiga lines as well which could take this whole retro thing to a whole new level. Rather than having gadgets that look modern and high tech, it will be far hipper to have a clunky looking thing that kicks technical butt. I'm sure Motorola is watching this with eager anticipation.







BONUS !!!  Vic-20 Commercial featuring The Shat !! 


           




Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Retro Mother's Day !!


If you happen to have forgotten mother's day, which is is today, don't be surprised if the looks your getting from mama look something like this.


And rightly so. After all, regardless of what you think of your mother, remember one thing - she grew a human being inside her body. Let me say that again - she grew a human being (or possibly a few) in her body. For that alone you have to respect her. She sacrificed her body, time and energy and smothered you with unconditional love to make you the person you are today and you couldn't take the time to drop by a Hallmark store? Mr T pities the fool that doesn't respect his mom. 


I'm still lucky to have my mom in my life and it amazes me that even at her age she seems to have more energy than I do and still manages to keep smiling even with all the aches and pain that come with getting older. What's the secret ? How does she do it ?


Many have entertained the Supermom theory and that would certainly explain a lot however a more plausible theory on how mom is able to do all that she does and still keep on smiling would be........


Still, however it is they are able to do what they do and still keep on smiling, more power to them. For most of us, your mom was and possibly still is your rock that was there every time you had a bad day, or made a dumb mistake or just had a case of the blahs. One hug from her or a finely crafted bowl of soup and you felt better - that's the true magic of motherhood and that's what we celebrate. 


Here's to all the mothers out there. Hope someone spoils you rotten........ in a retro way (sorry - had to slip that in)

  


 



Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May The Fourth Be With You (May 4th - get it ?.....moving on)

Yup I went there. What can I say, I'm a fan / geek. Here are a couple of commercials featuring the lighter side of the dark side.






Monday, May 2, 2011

Another Where Were You When Moment


Today's news about the elimination of America's public enemy number one brings to mind another day that I will never forget, September 11, 2001. As you know, on that day the world changed and most likely will never be the same. 


On that day I found myself in Chicago, Illinois. The previous day was my travel day so even to this day I wonder what could have happened had I made arrangements to fly on the Monday morning rather then the Sunday afternoon. I was in training with a group of Americans from all over the United States. I was the only Canadian there. When we heard of the first plane hitting the first tower, we all went to a common room with a television and together saw the second plane hit and the collapse of the two towers along with the attack on the Pentagon and of course the other downed plane that through the courage of some brave souls prevented the unnecessary death of more innocent people. Obviously we were stunned into silence. I remember a helpless feeling wash over me as I watched the screen and the silence in the room was deafening. Then the fear set in. Fear of the unknown. 

What the hell was happening? Who did this? What else was coming? What are the other targets? Is my family safe? Is this the end or just the beginning? Years later we're still trying to answer those questions. One of the strangest and most emotional things I've experienced happened that evening. We were all in the hotel bar and we were trying to make sense of the day. The music was on but only to serve as a distraction - nobody was in the mood to dance or joke around. Suddenly a song came on and everyone kind of stopped and started to sing. The  song was Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA". 


Being Canadian, I had never even heard of the song let alone heard the lyrics. As I listened to the words and the voices of the people trying to choke their tears as they sang loud and proudly, I realized something had come over me. I forgot I was Canadian - I felt American. I felt violated and I felt my way of life had been attacked that day. I became American. You really had to be there. I've heard that song a few times since then and though it still moves me, it's never hit me as hard as it did that day. 

Regardless of your political stripe or whose God you follow - innocent people do not deserve to die in any country for religious reasons. Attacking the towers served to wake a sleeping giant that day and change a lot of the things we've taken for granted for so long. Even though the world is rid of the evil that brought that destruction to the American shores, his legacy will continue to inspire more like minded individuals which again means our world will probably never be the same. However, I believe good will triumph and the righteous will prevail. It always and always will. God Bless America and God help us all. 


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Retro Video of the Day - Royal Wedding Edition

In less than twelve hours, Prince William takes his bride Catherine Middleton and walk her down the aisle of history. I wish Will & Kate many things - first of all happiness and healthy children. Secondly, exactly the opposite of what William's parents had - a loveless marriage, and finally I wish them peace and serenity. That will be a tough one. 


When William's mother Lady Diana Spencer was introduced to the world, it spawned a new industry featuring unscrupulous photographers who did whatever they could to get a money shot of Diana during every facet of her life. Although the paparazzi existed before Diana was around, it was her emergence that took the scummy profession to a whole new low.

She wasn't able to lead any sort of normal life and raising her children was impossible without the ever probing lenses of the air breathing pinheads that were ultimately responsible for her untimely death. Make no mistake, the paparazzi and our insatiable thirst for celebrity gawking was the cause of her death in a tunnel in Paris one fateful night. The paparazzi who were chasing her on motorcycles took some pictures of the crashed vehicle and then called for help.   

Her death stunned the world and made her more popular than ever before. The whole world mourned for the lonely Princess and over time we learned more and more about the nightmare that was her life in the royal spotlight. Details of her loveless marriage and Charles' ongoing relationship with his long time mistress, Camilla Parker Bowles served to only make Diana more loved by the people and make it virtually impossible for Charles and Camilla to continue their relationship after Diana's death. 


It took the two young Prince's intervention and acceptance of Camilla in their father's life to finally take the pressure off the old man that would be King. On a side note, Diana's worst picture ever taken would be about a thousand times better than Camilla's best picture. Just sayin'.........        

Didn't mean this post to be such a downer but I'm serious when I say that I hope the young couple are able to have a good life with many private moments. As a tribute to both Will and Kate and the groom's mother who sadly won't see her son marry, here are some videos with some royal inspiration.




 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Way They Was - Star Wars Edition

Star Wars pretty much changed everything when it came out back in 1977. It changed how we made movies, how we marketed movies, how we watched movies, and what we expected from movies. It pushed the envelope of movie making magic and brought many new technologies that are still used today including blue screen filming techniques and the THX recording standard. Worldwide, all the Star Wars movies have generated over $4.4 billion dollars in revenue.

The movie spawned many rumors and unbelievable stories that would be hard to imagine today. For example, Kenner Toys signed on during production of the film to handle toy merchandising but thought the movie would flop so produced pretty much nothing and was unprepared for the huge demand after the success of the movie. For the Christmas rush, they sold boxes with coupons or basically toy I.O.Us and couldn't fulfill orders until March. George Lucas was smart enough to retain 40% of the merchandising profits.
Originally Han Solo was supposed to be a green monster type creature but George Lucas changed it at the last minute to a human character. Some of the actors considered or refused the role include Al Pacino, Kurt Russell, Nick Nolte, Christopher Walken, Bill Murray, Steve Martin and Chevy Chase. Wait, what !?!  The lead singer of "Berlin", Terri Nunn and Cindy Williams (Laverne & Shirley) was considered for the role of Princess Leia and actually read for the part. 
The movie was shot with an $8 million budget. About $5 million of that was spent on special effects with some of the most expensive effects rejected by Lucas. The studio had to eventually cough up another $3 million. Considering the movie grossed $798 million worldwide, it was probably a pretty good investment.
 


Monday, April 25, 2011

Retro Video of the Day - Step On

So the long weekend was great but as usual Monday came way too fast and was way to tough to bare. Hence the video of the day for a dreary, rainy Monday is a classic by Happy Mondays, "Step On". It was either that or "I Don't Like Mondays" but that would have been waaaay to obvious a selection.


Happy Mondays formed in Salford, greater Manchester in 1980 and were a struggling band until being discovered at a battle of the bands at the legendary Hacienda nightclub. They evolved and worked with various producers and in time became a staple on the rave scene.

"Step On" was released in 1990 off their Pills n' Thrills and Bellyaches album and reached number 5 on the UK charts and number 9 on the U.S. modern rock charts. It cheered me up - hope it does the same for you


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Evolution of the Coke Bottle

There is no logo in the world that is more recognizable than the Coca Cola company's flagship product. Coke and its classic bottle design are a symbol known all over the world. It's gotten to the point you don't even need to have the word Coke in an advertisement as long as the distinctive bottle shape is there somewhere in the image.

The classic shape has evolved over the last hundred years and has gone from a rather boring square shaped bottle to the curvy silhouette it now maintains. Below is a timeline picture showing the changes over the years.


The shape is also responsible for designers of other products to be inspired by the sexy elements of the bottle, most notably  car designers. there are many examples but one of the best is the 1968 Corvette.


The evolution of the bottle continues with many commemorative issues produced for various promotions but one of the latest trends was the availability of metal bottles as well. 
There is no doubt the bottle will continue to evolve and change slightly as time goes on but it's not likely to change to something completely different. Makes no sense to change something that is so loved and part of the culture and identifiable as a classic Coke bottle design. That would be dumb - if you're going to do that you may as well change the formula and come out with a New Coke.......... oh wait, never mind.     
  

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Retro Music Videos with Bunnies - Easter Bonus Edition

There's actually not as many music videos featuring fuzzy bunnies as you may think. Fear not though, here's a few that will either bring back memories, or fill you with incredible indifference. There's also a classic clip from Monty Python featuring a fuzzy bunny of the lethal kind. 


For all my followers of the Catholic persuasion - Happy Easter !







Thursday, April 21, 2011

TV Cops Before They Were Sexy

It seems most TV dramas these days are either legal or medical dramas. Regardless of whether it's a gritty, hard hitting drama or a cerebral enigma that unravels itself over an hour, one thing is consistent. Sexy people.

Now I'm not saying that there weren't beautiful people on TV back in the day - after all it was called the boob tube for a reason however it seems that casting directors didn't have to worry about eye appeal when choosing actors for their TV dramas. Here's a few examples: 

Barnaby Jones (1973) - First of all, who the heck names their kid Barnaby? Your just begging for a school yard beating with a label like that. Uncle Jed Clampett, a.k.a Buddy Epsen (who the heck names their kid buddy either !?!?) was the title character in this show about a retired detective and his daughter-in-law solving crimes while searching for his son's murderer. Just look at those bedroom eyes. Damn son...... turn it down a notch, it's gettin' hot in here. 

Columbo (1971) - Peter Falk played the bumbling Lieutenant Frank Columbo, a homicide detective with the LAPD. The role had Frank stumbling around seemingly out of his element and getting under the skin of his peers who always dismissed him yet he was the only guy solving the crimes. You'd think after the fourth or fifth solved crime they'd cut him some slack and let him do his thing. Just once I'd like to hear one of the arrogant cop co-workers of his say, "Hey ! Let's get Columbo here. He'll solve this by the time we come back with donuts!" (Sorry - shameful and unnecessary cop stereotype inserted there)

Baretta (1975) - Do I really need to say anything? With characters that included Rooster, Little Mo and Fats, you kind of already know what the series was like. It's like what you see is what you get. An unorthodox cop solving crime his way. Breaking the rules to get er' done and making no apologies. Oh, he also owns a parrot named Fred. It's not his partner or anything - just a pet. Though that would be cool.

Starsky & Hutch (1975) - Okay I admit these guys were kind of cool and I was a fan growing up but the odd thing about these two was how they'd swing from cool and sexy to dopey and buggy looking from episode to episode. There was no consistency but they did have an informant named Huggy Bear and used a cool ass red Torino with a white stripe as a cop car. Very realistic. 

McCloud (1970) - Dennis Weaver played the "cowboy in the city" that also happened to be a cop in this series. The popularity of spaghetti westerns helped give this series some legs and it lasted seven series. Back then, episodes were two hours long and billed as the "Mystery Movie of the Week" but eventually was scaled back to ninety minutes and then to an hour. After all, how much urban cowboy on a horse can you take?

Having said all this, it wasn't all that bad. We did have Policewoman (1974)
Angie Dickinson playing the role of Sgt. "Pepper" Anderson as an undercover cop working what the good Lord gave her to keep the streets safe and rid of all the scums of the earth. Bless her heart.