Archive for February, 2010

Cola Wars: Awesome Vintage Coke commercials

Posted in 80s, Coca Cola, New Coke, pop culture, soda with tags , , , , , , on February 26, 2010 by Paxton

Sodapalooza

Yesterday I was reminiscing about the Coke/Pepsi “Cola Wars” back in the ’80s and ’90s. I took a look back at a bunch of Pepsi’s most famous commercials from that era. If you missed it, I urge you to check it out.

Now, let’s take a look at the other side of the coin, Coca-Cola. They have come up with some pretty famous commercials of their own. Let’s take a look back in time at some of Coke’s most famous TV ads.


Coke’s 1971 Teach the World to Sing commercial (video above) is undoubtedly their most famous advertisement.  It is so famous that it received two official sequels.  First, during the 1971 holiday season, Coke released a Christmas version of the commercial that ended in darkness with all the candles the people were holding in the shape of a Christmas tree. Then, in 2005, Coke inexplicably allowed singer/songwriter G Love to create a horrible douchebag hipster alternative rock version called Teach the World to Chill.  Might have been a worse idea than New Coke.


If the “hilltop” commercial above isn’t Coke’s most famous, then this 1979 Mean Joe Greene commercial is.  It’s still today a fantastic commercial.  Of course, in 2009, Coke filmed a sequel to the Mean Joe Greene commercial with Troy Polamalu.


The 11:30 Diet Coke break from 1996 is another popular Coke commercial.  I remember it airing what felt like every 5 minutes.  And, wait, I’m shocked to say this, but, in 2007 Coke filmed a sequel to the 11:30 commercial.  Talk about milking a concept dry.  I wonder if any of Coke’s commercials haven’t had a sequel.

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Cola Wars: Awesome Vintage Pepsi commercials

Posted in 80s, advertising, commercials, Michael Jackson, Pepsi, pop culture, soda, TV with tags , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2010 by Paxton

Sodapalooza

Pepsi and The Hoff

Shawn Robare over at Branded in the ’80s is reviewing his trip to the World of Coke in Atlanta and it got me thinking about the Cola Wars of the ’80s.  More specifically, soda commercials I loved during the Cola Wars.

I love the battle between Coke and Pepsi during the end of the last century.  So much awesome merchandising and memorabilia come out of that time period it’s mind boggling. Both Coke and Pepsi unleashed on our consciousness oodles of celebrities, pop songs, commercials and advertising that sculpted our current pop culture consciousness and is still remembered today.

Let’s take a look back at some of Pepsi’s best soda commercials.


Just this past weekend I watched Michael Jackson’s This Is It on Blu-Ray and loved it. The man new how to perform and he had SO MANY good songs. In the ’80s Michael was a pretty big spokesman for Pepsi and made several commercials (one in which he famously caught on fire). For me, one of the best, if not THE best, Pepsi commercial ever made was Jackson Street (clip above), which premiered on the 1983 Motown 25 TV Special. I still get goosebumps when I watch it. This commercial featured an unbelievably catchy jingle-version of Billie Jean. It also starred a young Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air).  See another Pepsi commercial MJ made called The Chase.


Ray Charles’ “Uh-Huh” commercials were all over the place in the early ’90s. They had 6 or 7 versions of them including Ray in a courtroom and playing his twin brother, Irv. My favorite version came in 1993 which showed other celebrities (Charo, Tiny Tim, Bo Jackson, Jerry Lewis) auditioning for Ray’s singing part.


Around the time Michael Jackson was a Pepsi spokesman, another Michael (J. Fox) was also signed on.  Fox starred in several commercials, mainly for Diet Pepsi, that are considered classics.  The commercial above is one of his first featuring him in the library trying to be quiet while buying a Pepsi from a vending machine.  See another Pepsi classic called My New Neighbor here in which Fox tries desperately to find his hot, new neighbor a Diet Pepsi.

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The 6 Rarest and Most Collectible Vintage Star Wars figures

Posted in movies, pop culture, Star Wars with tags , , , on February 19, 2010 by Paxton

Yesterday I discussed how Hasbro is resurrecting the Rocket Firing Boba Fett figure this year. That figure has become a “Holy Grail” for many Star Wars collectors. There are many different figures that have become popular and collectible for whatever reason in the vintage Kenner figure line.  Many become popular because of an error made in production, some become popular because they were released at the very end so only limited numbers exist today.

Let’s take a look at the six of the rarest and most collectible vintage Star Wars figures ever made.  All of the figures in this list were officially released to retail and aren’t prototypes or mockups.  They are actual figures.

Blue Snaggletooth Sears Cantina Adv Set
Blue Snaggletooth – Released in 1978 as part of the Sears exclusive Star Wars Cantina Adventure Set. Blue Snaggletooth was supposed to be half as tall and in a red-suit.  The mistake happened due to a miscommunication by Lucasfilm.  Essentially, Lucasfilm sent over a black and white headshot of the alien and Kenner “made up” the blue suit and his height because they had nothing to compare to. This was later corrected which only created demand for the incorrect tall, blue figure (as these things tend to do).  Blue Snaggletooth has become legendary in Star Wars collecting circles.  It’s not as rare as one might think, but they aren’t exactly plentiful and the popularity of this variation keeps the demand high.

Vinyl Cape Jawa Cloth Jawa
Vinyl-cape Jawa – Of the original 12 vintage Kenner Star Wars figures in 1978, the very last one issued to retail was the Jawa. He first appeared as you see him on the left, wearing a plastic (vinyl) cape. As the line of Star Wars figures proved to be hugely popular, Kenner switched the Jawa to a cloth cape (on right) because it made the figure look better.  By doing this, it created a situation in which the vinyl cape Jawa is now an extremely rare collectible.  This one is not as well known as the Blue Snaggletooth to people outside the Star Wars collecting community, but Star Wars collectors know the specifics of this VERY well.  Vinyl cape Jawa is one of the most faked vintage figures of all time due to it’s high price on the secondary market.  All you have to do is take a vintage Obi-Wan, remove the cloak, cut it to size then place it on a Jawa.  If you are good enough (and have zero scruples), you can affix the figure to a used Star Wars 12 back card and you have something that may get you thousands of dollars from a collector that doesn’t know any better.  However, someone willing to pay thousands for this figure variation WILL know better.

DT Luke DT Ben DT Darth Vader
Double Telescoping Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader – “Double telescoping” is a term used for the original mechanics of the lightsaber action feature on Luke Skywalker, Ben Kenobi and Darth Vader.  If you look at the above pics, you can see the lightsaber opens up into two parts.  One part comes directly out of the hand and the second part comes out of the very tip.  This was done as a cheap way to give the lightsaber some length.  However, Kenner was not happy with this and changed the mechanics to a single piece of plastic.  Not many of these “double telescoping” figures actually made it to retail, which makes them doubly rare.

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Brand New Rocket Firing Boba Fett and other Star Wars Toy Fair announcements

Posted in Boba Fett, movies, nostalgia, pop culture, Star Wars with tags , , , , on February 18, 2010 by Paxton

ESB Boba Fett Toy Fair Hasbro

Well, Toy Fair in New York was this past weekend. There were tons of toy reveals going on for all types of toys and games, but one piece of news actually has me giddy as a schoolgirl at a Jonas Brothers concert.

Hasbro announced that for The Empire Strikes Back’s 30th anniversary this year, they are bringing the Vintage Original Trilogy Collection back.  Hasbro started the Vintage Original Trilogy Collection (OTC) back in 2004 (see pics here).  It consisted of mostly movie based figures in “vintage style” packaging reminiscent of the Kenner figures in the early 1980s.  The vintage packaging for these new figures looks fantastic but the best news about this vintage set is that if you buy five figures, you can send away for a rocket firing Boba Fett!!

rocket firing fett offer

Why is this fantastic news? Well, for those that don’t know, back in the day, right before Empire Strikes Back came out (pre-1980), Star Wars figures had a mail away offer for an exclusive Boba Fett with a rocket firing backpack. It was a way for Kenner to promote the new movie before it was released.  Here’s an advertisement showcasing this mail away toy offer (via my Flickr buddy Jason Liebig):

Rocket firing Boba promo

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15 murder mystery books with absurdly specific subjects

Posted in books, humor, pop culture with tags , , , on February 12, 2010 by Paxton

Badass Book Report

I love books and I love to read. I spend a lot of my time trolling through bookstores and used paperback shops just browsing. Sometimes after browsing for 2 hours I’ll buy a stack of like six books and sometimes I’ll buy nothing, to the ever increasing frustration of my wife.  She can go into a bookstore, look for 10 minutes and be done.  However, get her in a fabric store and time loses all meaning.  But a bookstore, that’s my domain.

One of the things I love to read is the murder mystery genre.  It’s one of the most popular genres of books including such classic authors as Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  Recently I’ve noticed a trend with murder mysteries wherein the author tailors the murder story around a specific hobby or lifestyle.  I guess it’s to make the story more relatable to the reader.  As this practice has become more and more popular, the subjects for these murder mystery books has become so intensely specific that it has become a bit ludicrous.  Here are ten of the most ridiculously specific murder mystery books I could find.  And there may be even more odd ball ones out there. You can click the book covers to read more about the titles on Barnes & Noble.com.

Sudoku mystery
Sudoku, the OCD numbers puzzle that has become quite the rage the last few years. Now, there’s a murder mystery series featuring them. The story in this series involves a Sudoku creator for the Oregon Daily participating in a Sudoku tournament where a competitor turns up dead. She must solve the mystery and then win the Sudoku tournament (of course she does) if she is to be crowned King Sudoku and become one of the 8 Deadly Immortals and protect the Earth from the attacking Demonicle hordes…..okay, I made the last part up, but I was getting a little bored and had to think of something a little more awesome than winning a Sudoku tournament.  Other titles in this series include Murder by Numbers and Sinister Sudoku.

Crossword Puzzle series
Crossword puzzles.  They are like Sudoku for old people.  People obsess over these things.  There are books and dictionaries created specifically to help people solve crossword puzzles.  My father, my mother-in-law and my aunt are obsessed with these things.  My dad told me that he’ll start a crossword puzzle during breakfast and the next time he looks up it’s 5pm, time for dinner and he hasn’t moved…or showered.  Great, my dad is becoming Howard Hughes.  What’s an 8 letter word for shut in?  (FYI…it’s “puzzlers”)  Other titles in this series include Puzzled to Death and And a Puzzle to Die On. Stay tuned for mysteries involving Yahtzee, Bunko and Parcheesi.  Okay, Dad, you can shower now.

Tea Shop mysteries Coffeehouse mystery
These two books belong in the “so boring I may have just passed out” category.  On the left you see the first book in a mystery series about a tea shop. A.TEA. SHOP.  Yes, little old ladies in red hats drinking tea and eating scones off lace doilies solving murders.  It’s like a less interesting Murder, She Wrote (if that’s possible).  Each title in the book has the name of a tea in the title as a pun.  For instance, Gunpowder Green and Shades of Earl Gray.  It’s like the author is actively trying to get me NOT read her books.  On the right you can see the first book in the “coffeehouse mysteries” set in a trendy “mom and pop” coffee shop.  I guess a coffeehouse is as good a place as any for a murder scene because every time I go there with my wife there are several douchebags I want to actually murder.  Other coffeehouse titles include Decaffeinated Corpse and Roast Mortem. And since writing those “tea shop mysteries” most certainly drove the author insane, she also writes a mystery series about scrapbooking.

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Mt Dew begins voting again for three new flavors

Posted in Mountain Dew, Pepsi, soda with tags , , , on February 8, 2010 by Paxton

Sodapalooza

Dewmocracy logo

Back in 2008, Mountain Dew held a promotion called Dewmocracy.  People would visit the Dewmocracy website, play games, choose different flavors to be mixed into Mt Dew, and the hordes would then vote on the best sounding Mt Dew mix.  After the top three flavor combinations were tallied, logo and packaging designs were developed.  Then, all three sodas were revealed to the public in April 2008.  People bought the three sodas, tasted them, then went back to the Dewmocracy website to vote on their favorite.

The three flavors everyone was voting on were Mt Dew Supernova (Strawberry-Melon), Mt Dew Revolution (Wild Berry) and Mt Dew Voltage (Raspberry-Citrus).

Dewmocracy

Then, the winner of the contest was revealed in August 2008 to be Mt Dew Voltage. Not my favorite of the three, but it wasn’t my least favorite.

Mt Dew Voltage wins

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Cavalcade of Awesome looks at the 2009 Oscar Nominations

Posted in Academy Awards, movies, Oscars with tags , , , on February 3, 2010 by Paxton

Oscars Wild!

The Academy Awards are almost upon us. This year the Oscars will be broadcast on Sun, March 7 at 8pm EST. The ceremony will be co-hosted by Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin.

The Oscar nominations for this year were released on Tuesday, Feb 2.  I do this every year, I go through the nominations for the biggest categories and see how much I agree with the Academy. More often than not, I don’t agree at all.

See my thoughts on last year’s Oscar nominations here.

See the Oscar noms for 2007 here.

You can see all the nominations on the official Oscar website.  So, without further ado, here are the nominations.

BEST PICTURE
Avatar – I can see this in Visual Effects, but not Best Picture. It’s a good movie, it’s just not a great movie.  And by that I mean it’s not the best written movie in the world and it’s AT LEAST 30 minutes too long. The mineral the corporation is mining in the movie is called Unobtainium. They actually say it in the movie. COME ON!
The Blind Side – Think about this: The Blind Side has a shot at being the BEST PICTURE OF 2009. Don’t get me wrong, I like this movie, but BEST PICTURE OF THE YEAR?! No.
District 9 – On my list of top 5 movies of 2009. Of course, there’s no way in Hell this is going to win, but it’s good to see it here.
An Education – Yeah, didn’t see it.  Nor have I heard of it.  Well, played, Academy.  Well.  Played.
The Hurt Locker – I don’t normally like war movies. I hear great things about this, so I may have to suck it up and give it a watch.
Inglourious Basterds – An exception to my war movie rule. In my top 5 movies of 2009.
Precious – I see why this is nominated.  I really do.  I just never want to watch it.
A Serious Man – The Coen’s are weird, dude.  I’ve only enjoyed 3 of their movies.  EVER.  And I’ve only watched one of those three movies more than once.  I’m not exactly itching to see this.
Up – I really did enjoy this movie, but, again, I’m not sure it deserved a BEST PICTURE OF 2009 nomination.
Up In The Air – I love George Clooney.  I knew this was going to be high on Academy voters’ lists.  And I still have no desire to watch it.

District 9 Inglorious Basterds

BEST ACTOR
Jeff Bridges, CRAZY HEART – Bridges wasn’t nominated for The Men Who Stare At Goats?  RIGGED!  I’m kidding.  Of course, I’ve never even heard of this movie.
George Clooney, UP IN THE AIR – Another missed opportunity for The Men Who Stare At Goats.
Colin Firth, A SINGLE MAN – Love Colin Firth.  Unless this is a sequel to Love Actually, then I’m not interested.
Morgan Freeman, INVICTUS – I have a man-crush on Matt Damon and I love Morgan Freeman.  That still does not make me want to see a movie about rugby…and apartheid.
Jeremy Renner, THE HURT LOCKER – Again, I hear Renner is great in this.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Matt Damon, INVICTUS – Yay, Matt!  I’m still not going to see this movie.
Woody Harrelson, THE MESSENGER – WTF is The Messenger?!  Harrelson should have been nominated for Zombieland.  There, I said it.
Christopher Plummer, THE LAST STATION – What?
Stanley Tucci, THE LOVELY BONES – Nice nom for Tucci.  He was good in this sequel to What Dreams May Come.
Christoph Waltz, INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS – Waltz better win this.  From what I see here, he PWNS this category.

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