Chozen Raced Lane Meyer

Middle of the night. Can't sleep. Put on a movie. Groundbreaking realization.

Indeed. Chozen once raced Lane Meyer.

The League: Dream Job

This week, the League of Extraordinary Bloggers is presented with this question:
If money was not a concern and you could choose any career path, what would be your ultimate dream job?
While I would love to make up a job like professional-do-nothing-er or laborer-skilled-in-lazy, there is one "real" job that I would step into in a heartbeat.

If money was not a concern and I was forced into the career of my choosing, make me an employee of Championship Vinyl -- the record store in High Fidelity.

What music fan/collector wouldn't want to hang out with Rob, Dick, and Barry all day and belittle the musical tastes of others?

In fact, just last week when Pax ranked the Beastie Boys albums from best to worst over at Cavalcade of Awesome, I couldn't wait to tell him all of the reasons that his list was wrong. Fortunately for his self-esteem, it turned out that Pax ranked these albums exactly as I would have.

Well done.

But seriously, I'm not sure it could get much better for me than a job at an independent record store. I'm not talking about working in a trendy record store where the "cool kids" find jobs to achieve the social approval of their peers (a la Warren Beatty in Empire Records). I want a job in a dusty and musty record shop filled with vinyl treasures discarded by countless adults who have forgotten what good music sounds like.

I'd listen to my favorite records all day while I drank gallons of coffee and did crossword puzzles. If you came in looking for a Dave Matthews album, I would mock you.

I would challenge the top five lists of my co-workers and tell them why my lists were more accurate.

I would toss around the idea of starting my own record label and seek the comfort of my own music collection during hard times.

I would make life decisions based on song lyrics and at the end of the day, go home to my wife and listen to Stevie Wonder records.

I'd feel guilty taking their money, if I wasn't... well... kinda one of them.

For other dream jobs around the League, stop by Cool and Collected.

Adventure Club: More Karate Kid

If you spent an hour of your life listening to the first part of my recent conversation with Guy about the Karate Kid, here's Part 2. Not Karate Kid Part 2...part two of the conversation.

We talk about the drum technique, practicing karate moves in the mall, 1980's souvenir magazines, action figures, and meeting Captain Lou Albano.

Listen as we sweep the leg on this Adventure Club Podcast EXTRA!

Johnny, you're a cream puff!

Basement Junk #29: The League Edition

It's been a while since I've checked in with the League of Extraordinary Bloggers but this week's topic seemed simple enough that I figured I could chime in without much effort.
Post a photo of a shelf of items that displays your love for pop culture.
With all of the random nonsense that I've collected through my nerdish obsession with pop culture -- you've likely seen some of in on my regular Basement Junk posts -- this small section of a larger shelf seems to accidentally encapsulate so many of the areas of pop culture that I hold dear.

Curious to know more about what you're looking at? Here's a quick rundown from left to right.
And the Trolley. Of course there's a Trolley.

For more shelf-expression by other League bloggers, stop by Cool and Collected.

Adventure Club: Karate Kid

I talk a lot about the Karate Kid here on FASTE -- but probably not as much as I did when I recently joined Guy for a two-part Adventure Club Podcast all about the greatest movie ever made.

Listen. It's comin' around.

A First and Final Word on Hostess

I know that when news broke of Hostess shutting down, there were some people who rushed out and bought up every Ding Dong and Snowball they could get their grubby hands on.

I was not one of those people.

Although I will definitely miss the Hostess brand, I'm confident that my favorite products will be bought up by another company and I'll be able to continue indulging in the occasional frozen Ding Dong.

Still, I hit the local grocery story this evening for a few random items and happened by the mostly empty shelves that were once home to infinite Hostess goodness. That's when nostalgia got the best of me. I spied a bag of chocolate Donettes. You know the ones I'm talking about.

Sure there are other brands of these donuts available that look and taste exactly the same. But I had to buy these one last time. Not because they're so awesome (which they are) but because of a picture -- one of my favorite pictures ever taken of my brother and me.

A winter morning in 1979. Hostess donuts and milk.

And just like that...they're gone.

A Karate Kid Crane Kick from Strange Kid

I've made no effort to hide the fact that I love the Karate Kid. You may even remember it recently ranking atop my list of all-time favorite movies. I've made dozens of posts here on FASTE about the Karate Kid -- deleted scenes, curiosities, action figures, interpreted references...

Then today something happened.

Strange Kid blew my mind.

Mother of God.

Rondal nails it with the first line of his post:
Do you consider yourself to be the ultimate KARATE KID fan? Well, get ready to have you mind blown.
Well done, Strange Kid.

Mind blown.

Wonder Bread He-Man (Savage)

I've often said that I don't remember much that I learned in college, but if you want someone to rattle off the names of the original cast members from Facts of Life, I'm your guy. What I mean is that my mind is like a steel trap when it comes to trivial pop culture nonsense -- especially from my youth. Although I admit that my brother is much more book-smart than I'll ever be, he too recalls things from our childhood that are amazing in their detail. This is why I've chosen to pick his brain a bit about a highly debated toy that he's been sitting on for years -- the Wonder Bread He-Man.

First, let me start off by saying that the name "Wonder Bread He-Man" is ridiculous. This figure has absolutely nothing to do with Wonder Bread. Still, since that is how it is most often referred to, I will use this stupid name in this post.

Secondly, from my own memory -- my brother's comments aside -- I definitely remember my brother acquiring this figure through a special mail-in offer of some sort. I used to annoy him by sing-songing the names of his Master of the Universe figures. Each time he'd get a new one, my song would grow. To this day, I recall singing: "He-Man. Man-E-Faces. Skeletor. The New Guy. Faker."

The "New Guy" in my song was Wonder Bread He-Man.

So after years of debate and uncertainty among toy collectors and MOTU "experts", allow my brother to drop some legitimate Wonder Bread He-Man knowledge on your eager minds.

. . .

TL: How and when did you acquire this figure?

BROTHER: It was with the wave where Man-E-Faces was released. I think it was the second wave. It was close to the beginning of when the Masters of the Universe figures were first coming out. So 1983. It was in May because I got my first figures for my birthday and I think it was Toys R Us where they were purchased. I bought He-Man and Skeletor and Man-E-Faces. Man-E-Faces had a deal where if you bought three...I was going to buy someone else...but I got Man-E-Faces instead specifically because if you bought three and he was one of them you got a mail-in offer for a fourth one.

TL: What did you have to do to get this fourth one?

BROTHER: I think you sent off the proof of purchase from three figures including Man-E-Faces.

TL: It was a mail-in?

BROTHER: Yeah. And it did not come with much of anything. No armor.

TL: None at all?

BROTHER: Nope. Because I remember thinking it was just like a repainted He-Man with no accessories and thinking how lame it was that it only came with the brown shield. I had other shields just like it that didn't spin -- that piece would spin around the handle so I would have him hold it above his head and pretend he flew like a helicopter.


TL: Some people claim to have a Wonderbread He-Man that came with this weapon or that. Some people claim theirs came with armor. What is your theory as to why you got a shield and other people claim they got a sword or something different?


BROTHER: Man-E-Faces came with an extra set of the brown weapons -- a sword, an axe, a shield, a knife maybe? I want to say there were four or five of those that came with Man-E-Faces in addition to his brightly colored gun. I got another one of the same shields with the mail-in figure. I would think they probably had a supply of extra weapons that they just threw in one or two extra weapons with the figure. You may have gotten any one or two of those weapons. It's the same molds as most of the weapons that came with Castle Grayskull. Castle Grayskull came with more.

TL: Where they brown, too?

BROTHER: No. They were tan. At least mine were. I don't know if they were always the same.

TL: What is your theory regarding the vague history of this figure among Masters of the Universe collectors? Why so much uncertainty?

BROTHER: What age would have been collecting those? Not only that, but there really wasn't as much of a toy collecting community then -- people weren't trying to collect them for posterity. You didn't really keep it with the intention of remembering everything about it.

TL: But with so much uncertainty out there, I find it hard to believe that you're the only person in the world that has a clear recollection of how you got your figure and what it came with.

BROTHER: Well, I didn't know of anybody else who had one besides me and I also didn't know it was even a big deal until just a few years ago. I don't know how many there actually are in existence to begin with and now I'm sure there are plenty of people who can paint other figures to make fakes. Oh, and that black and white armor...

TL: Yeah, talk a little about that.

BROTHER: There was a bonus weapons pack that came out a little bit later that came with that....that's Zodac's armor. I don't remember if it was the same color on Zodac or not but it's the same mold. And the black armor came with the bonus weapons pack -- it came with a neck-armor piece like Beast Man had, and shoulder pads. I remember they didn't fit or stay very well -- I always tried to put them on that new figure (Wonderbread He-Man) and they didn't stay very well or wouldn't stay fastened. I never kept any of those on him even though he didn't come with anything of his own because they just didn't fit right.

TL: On a percentage scale, 0-100, how sure are you about the accuracy of all of the details that you recall?

BROTHER: The only things I'm not sure about are the packaging when it came in the mail -- was it in a plastic bag or in a manilla envelope -- I don't remember that. I'm fairly certain that I got my first figures at Toys R Us but I'm not positive. I'm certain about the weapons it came with...

TL: You're certain about the weapons. There was no armor.


TL: This figure had nothing to do with eating Wonder Bread.


TL: You're certain it was a mail-in offer.

BROTHER: Yes. And on the form there were other toys listed. Maybe Barbie and some others so I'm sure it was a Mattel offer.

TL: It was a mail-in based on your purchase of Man-E-Faces.

BROTHER: Yeah. Because I bought He-Man and Skeletor purposefully because it was the main good guy and the main bad guy. I think I was going to buy somebody else -- maybe Man-At-Arms -- and I decided to get Man-E-Faces instead. I think it was even mom's suggestion. She said if you get this one, you can send off and get another one. So I got Man-E-Faces purposefully because that was what you had to get to send off for the extra figure. Plus, Man-E-Faces came with that extra batch of weapons.

TL: So scale of 0-100, how positive are you about all of this?

BROTHER: Oh...easily 99.9%...

TL: Last but not least, are you willing to sell this figure and if so, what's your price?

BROTHER: I would think about selling it but I look at prices people are currently asking and think that they're inflated because nobody knows how many there. Not to mention that it's tough to tell which ones are authentic and which are fakes.

. . .

So there you have it, friends and neighbors. You can continue digging around and making up your own theories about Wonder Bread He-Man.

As for me, I know what he is and where he came from...and it wasn't from eating bread.

. . .

UPDATE (1/11/2018)

Thanks to Matt from Dinosaur Dracula for digging up these ads which do nothing but support my brother's memories.

Wallow in your misery, He-Man collectors. Or recognize the fact that this "mystery" is solved.

Hobgoblinspookadelic, ya'll.

October 31st that is my date of birth. I got to the party and I did the Smurf...

It's Halloween, folks. Hobgoblinspookadelic. As if you didn't know.

One of my favorite bands -- NIL8 -- is currently celebrating 30 years of making music and there's no better day than today to dig out their Scared Stiff 7" released back in the late 90s.


In addition to five live tracks of South-Central Illinois' finest punk rock (recorded at Chicago's Metro in August of '96), Scared Stiff looks something awesome pressed on goulish orange vinyl.


Interested in checking this out for yourself? You can download this long-out-of-print release for yourself over at Some Things Can't Be Ignored.

And for good measure, here's NIL8 knocking out a few new wave classics for your enjoyment...

[NOTE: October 31st is not my date of birth and I did not get to the party and do the Smurf.]

Adventure Club Halloween Spooktacular!

As a life-long fan of Summer School, I never thought I'd see the day that my name shared the same "guest list" as Dean Cameron.

God bless the internet.

As always, it was a pleasure to join Guy and John J. on the Adventure Club Podcast. Not only did this happen to be their 50th episode, it was a Halloween Spooktacular!

Myself and the other guests mingled at the Adventure Club Halloween bash and talked about our favorite spooky movies.

Check it out...

Tales from the Dollar Bin

A blog I read somewhat regularly -- Lair of the Dork Horde -- features regular posts under the title "Tales From the 25cent Bin." Essentially, these posts showcase this blogger's most recent trip to a comic book store's quarter bins. Pretty simple, really.

I had the day off of work today and one of my favorite day-off activities is digging through the boxes of dollar records at a local record store. So after a gut-bomb of a lunch at Meatheads, I spent about a half-hour knee-deep in musty vinyl.

Stealing a page from the Dorke Horde's book, I present to you the product of today's crate digging...arranged in order of increasing awesomeness.

Waylon Jennings - Greatest Hits

Big deal. I know. I grew up on Waylon and Willie and own a pretty good amount of their music. Even so, for a buck, I can never pass on Waylon.

Miami Vice Soundtrack

Say what you will, this soundtrack is amazing. At the very least, Melle Mel's Vice is worth a buck.

Bob McGrath - Sings for All the Boys and Girls

You know Bob. He's been on Sesame Street for years. He plays Bob.

John Schneider - White Christmas

Bo Duke is singing Christmas carols at my house this year. Yee haw.

Bootsy Collins - The One Giveth, The Count Taketh Away

Forget the other four I bought. This is all I've listened to all afternoon. It's Bootsy! If you've never given him a listen, I suggest you take care of that right now.

So, yeah. Five dollars well spent.

McDonald's Shanghai Taste Adventure

There is very little that I enjoy more than being right. Especially after I've been told I'm wrong for an extended period of time.

When I was a kid, there was a (very short) point in time when the McDonald's in my town ran some sort of a Chinese food promotion. I don't remember the finer details, but I very vividly remember two things:

1. There were fortune cookies.

2. This is where I learned to use chopsticks. In fact, I can remember the exact seat I was sitting in as I read the instruction on the paper wrapper around the wooden chopsticks: hold one between your thumb and index finger and hold the other like a pencil.

I've mentioned this to a handful of people over the past several years -- starting to wonder if I had imagined this. Sure enough, no one seems to have any idea what I'm talking about. I've also spent far more time than I'd care to admit scouring the internet for evidence of this taking place.

Still nothing.

Until now.

I raise my head high and look down my nose upon the doubters as I present to you the Chicken McNuggets Shanghai Taste Adventure.

My eyes aren't what they used to be, but if I'm reading the fine print correctly, this is from 1986. 

God bless for bringing this quest to an end.

Found Some Posters

Had the day off from work today and cleaned out the garage. Found a tube of posters from junior high and high school that I thought were long gone...

Teen Beat: June 1986

I've often mentioned that I have a running list of holy grail items in my head at all times. You know, things that I'm constantly looking for but likely will only come across once or twice (if ever). Given the opportunity, I've learned to pounce on holy grail items when I find them. Over the past few years, I've gotten my hands on a few of these items and this past week I secured one more.

Last February, a skeleton escaped my closet when I admitted to having a subscription to Teen Beat magazine when I was a kid. While issues of Teen Beat from that era regularly pop up on eBay, I wanted the first issue I ever owned -- June 1986. After keeping my eye out for the past three years, there it was.

Within less than sixty seconds of laying my eyes on it, the purchase was complete and payment was made. Fast forward a few days and there it was in my mailbox.

While this post isn't necessarily about this issue's content, I feel like I'd be doing somewhat of a disservice if I didn't at least share a few of the gems inside.

First comes the feature on Michael J. Fox which mentions his recent break-up with Nancy McKeon. The picture to the right of the page shows him with Tracy Pollan and explains: "Here's Michael with his Family Ties girlfriend, Tracy Pollan, at a Hollywood awards show. She's in love with Kevin Bacon in real life!" Of course, Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan have been married since 1988.

Anything about the Karate Kid just screams awesomeness so this feature, of course, was a highlight.

The Movies section makes an interesting revelation (and a horrible joke): "A sequel to The Breakfast Club? What will they call it? The Brunch Club? Possibly, though it's questionable whether John Hughes, who'll write and direct the movie, can coax his original five to return..."

Dean Cameron? Anything with Dean Cameron is at the top of my list. Even this poor attempt at bringing Fast Times at Ridgemont High to television. You can hear more about this show from Dean himself by listening to his guest appearance on the Adventure Club Podcast.

Menudo update? Teen Beat's got you covered.

And lastly, how about that drawing of Michael J. Fox? Not bad on the head, but I'd like to know what happened to the right side of his body. It's almost as if the artist got as far as the shoulders and just said, "Screw it. That's good enough."

The signs of the times seen on each and every page of this magazine are fantastic; but that's not why I'm excited to have found this issue. It's all about nostalgia, but not about the pop culture aspect this time.

Holding this magazine in my hands takes me back. I'm immediately swept away to the grocery store in my hometown where I stood as my mom did some shopping. I can feel the cold air of the air condition -- just turned on as the warm weather was on its way. I can hear the cash registers and the shopping carts. I can smell the damp air holding in the scent of cardboard boxes, fresh produce, and non-perishable packaging. I can see the huge selection of magazines on the rack in front of me.

This is the one I chose that day.

And now I have it again.