Thursday, February 26, 2009

And the little box at the top of the stairs, with my Indian rug, and a pipe to share...

Roadrash’s comment on Pampdog’s post below once again inspired me to attempt to hunt down my favorite advertisement slogan/campaign of the 70’s. Last month for the umpteenth time I tried in vain to find ANYTHING on the web regarding this long out of business paraphernalia company (now revealed to be Progressive Plastics, Inc.). As a matter of fact, when you search Yahoo! with “Strike a blow for freedom” one of my blog posts in which I discuss the futility of my quest comes up as number two on the hit list. Here’s more from another post:

“I wonder what kind of case I'd have had if Mr. Macek had actually been able to SEE that the poster of Uncle Sam I had on the inside of my eight grade locker actually said, "Strike a blow for freedom: buy U.S. Bongs" . The poster had ole Sam, like the one pictured above, passing one of the bong companies elaborate smoking devices to the reader vs. pointing at a perspective army recruit. My math teacher noticed it while I was getting some crap out of my locker before class. Once he saw it, he began giving me a run down on how he'd always liked that poster (the original non-bong one that is) which had been a staple of armed forces recruiting since WWII. I was relieved that he did not recognize that what he was actually looking at was a spoof (this guy was so old that he had taught my dad math when he was in 6th grade). I would have had a hell of a time explaining that one to my parents much less the US Supreme Court.”

Be sure to read the linked article. Very interesting.

Anyhoodle, thank God someone was smart enough to scan a copy of the advertisement and post it on the web for all prosperity. The quest is now over, behold:

The one ole Unkie Sam is thrusting in our face was the same model as the one I bought from Wheels in 1980(?) except it was purple. And of course, there was the ‘Capital Hill’. What a stunning piece of American ingenuity and engineering that thing was. It had to have won awards at M.I.T. or something, right? Man, if Huck Tater could find the photo I took of myself with that monstrosity sitting in front of me and sent to him when he was over in Belgium we’d have a good laugh. Huck, could you by any chance put your hands on that photo?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Visit To Highland Falls...

I've been teasing the Facebook crowd about my recent venture to Highland Falls NY with my family and a few chance encounters at the fabulous Park Restaurant while dining with Katie Fairy Godmother. Well, I hope I don't disappoint. Let's see who can name the folks in the photos:

Hint: One handed down stern words and associated fines to yours truly, the other ruled the roost with an iron fist.

Here's another good one...

Say Anonymous, last time this guy was in as close a proximity to me he was about to punch me in the face. See, we can all grow up. Who is this guy?

The young lady hugging my daughter is her Godmother and did her best to make Neanderthals look decent in the 70's, 80's, and 90's. Who is she?

This young lady has a teenage son, an older sister who is rumored to live in my town here in GA, and an older brother named Barry. Care to guess?
Have at it folks, and don't be afraid to drop a comment below.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ho. Lee. Shit.

From his MySpace page, none other than MF'ing Savage himself. I give you

Check here to see other pics, and here for some movie trailers of some (mostly horror) movies he's been in.

Dude! You gotta write in!

I can't believe I* found this!

* - Irene G.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Sound of Infamy—

A defining feature of the West Point Skateboard Gang is the terrifying sound it produced as its members charged across the streets of the United States Military Academy. West Point residents during the era of the artful dodgers quickly learned the gang’s trademark sound—an angelic cacophony of polyurethane wheels slashing across pavement that heralded the gang’s travels and produced widespread panic across the region. Louder than a gang of Harleys, the source of innumerable nightmares among military families—the deafening roar this tribe of unruly skateboarders made crossing the ‘Point’ signaled to all within earshot the impending arrival of defiant power. Like a gigantic hand scraping its fingernails across the chalkboard of West Point’s concrete, the sound of the dodgers in transit was a fluid social stain designed to disrupt with impunity the otherwise perfect and repressed order of the Academy.

As the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, the sound of each wheel reinforced and amplified the sounds of every other wheel in its proximity, producing a rowdy chorus of rebellion and unrestrained freedom. Of course, the infamous roar was but a part of the larger aesthetic—a blinding blur of flowing hair and bandanas, trailing smoke, faded jeans, cranked music, and wild laughter.

After a classic ‘sesh’ in Pat and Chris’ attic room, 10 or so of us glide down the grass hill by the Catholic Chapel, drop in with military precision onto Washington Road and begin our journey to the half-pipe in Lee area. Crackling like a succession of lightning strikes, each board joins the orchestra of fury—a haunting crescendo of sound that compels mothers to grab their children, freezes dogs in their tracks, halts local traffic, and impels MPs to feel for their gun holsters. Our sublime tornado of sight, sound and fury makes its way past the cemetery slamming-out repetitive clicks from the sidewalk cracks, jets smoothly down and past the PX on Buckner Loop—bodies bent to reduce air-drag and gliding swerves to accelerate the board’s forward motion and then, as if a cork popping from a champagne bottle, lights-out onto Lee Road. The group’s formation elongates into a single line and then contracts again into a condensed phalanx only to elongate again—a living, breathing configuration, a loosely-congealed bubble of orbiting bodies floating effortlessly down the hill and onto the flat, our beautiful cacophony at our heels the entire way. We are magicians who have conquered Newton’s laws, let alone the mere rules and restrictions that suppress the normal residents of USMA.

All subsequent generations of West Point inhabitants can hear the faint echo of skateboard wheels in the distance.
“Lights out, lights out in West Point, hold ‘em tight til the end. God knows when I’m comin’ on my run”.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bloggosphere Guide

Like TV Guide, Only More Self-Promotional
If you haven't already headed over to Jackson's blog to check out his Up To 1984 Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, Hold the Stoners music guide, you should check it out. Despite getting the Judas Priest entry almost completely wrong and not allowing Hendrix under some made up exemption, he's pretty much got it right.

Don't go to my old blog Eating Chicken Vindaloo, though, because I've stopped posting there. Up-bup: can't do it. I may someday come out of retirement years from now better than ever after my baseball career in the minors embarrasses me.

Out with old, in with the new. I started a new blog: James I. O'Neill Class of '81. It's purpose is to reconnect my old high school class in the way this blog has reconnected the WPSG. Feel free to stop by and see what your fellow O'Neill-ites (O'Neill-ers? I think I like O'Neill-ers better) are up to.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Substitute Chonicles

In response to the last posting here, Huck Tater wrote: "I was thinking that it is so funny to see how time and such changes one's perspective. I had the unfortunate experience of having to rely on substitute teaching for a time in upstate NY. So many of those kids were fucking monsters and deserved (along with their parents) to be shot. It was appalling how much time dealing with them took away from the kids who actually wanted to learn something. Of course I was one of the minor league shitheads when I was in high school. Failed 1oth grade at O'Neill but ended up with a PhD after."

It was like he was using some Jedi Mind Trick to read my mind. Back in the day, I, like most students, enjoyed it when we had a substitute. I wasn't the worst offender, but I wasn't an angel either.

I remember once as a sophomore Andy Gasper and I played a little game with a sub with me pretending to be him and him pretending to be me. What a mistake on his part. I started acting up really bad - "What are you gonna do, sub, write up me, Andy Gasper?" Andy quickly fessed up that we had switched places. The sub had no idea what to do.

Also during that year, we had a sub for Biology that I knew wasn't going to make it at O'Neill HS - Mr. Toback. He's just say he was a goober. A few weeks later he was subbing in my gym class and Tony Yanatelli (who wasn't in my gym class but was present that day because, well, he was Tony Yanatelli) threw a medicine ball at Toback from across the gym (unbelievable considering the strength required to do so, but if you knew TY, you know it was true), narrowly missing Toback's head by the slimmest of margins. Yeah, he never came back.

Another time, in my junior year, Pampdog and I had a sub for English. We sat in the back of the room instead of our seats as per the sub-rules that said we could do whatever the hell we felt like doing when there was a sub because we were badasses. A little known fact about me is that the back of my head is particularly hard. I could hit the wall with it and make a considerable "THUD" when the sub wasn't looking. Meanwhile, Pampdog, when the sub had her head turned, stood up, back to the wall, and stomped the wall with his clod-hoppers making a bit more noise than me. When someone knocked at the door a minute later, we moved up a couple seats when the sub answered, then scolded the nerdy girl sitting by herself in the back of the room - "Hey, knock off all the shenanigans! I'd write her up, sub!"

Violence...Violence...It's the only thing that will make you see sense, Part II
When I subbed, I clearly remembered all the crap I used to pull. Getting back to my story from ECV (click to read Part I if you haven't already). If the dope throwing pennies was throwing them at me, I would have shrugged it off. I had 5 minutes to think of what I was going to do. I had 12 years, a 100 pounds, a foot in height on him, and a teacher certification to worry about, so I knew I couldn't hit him and make him apologize to the girl. So what did I do? I took a page from my brother's book. When the bell rang, students filed out. He was the last one, but a couple students from the next class had come in. I said to him, "Hey that wasn't really cool picking on that girl like that." He of course said something like,"Man, I didn't do anything." I pressed on, "Picking on someone who can't defend themselves, huh? You must be really proud of yourself." Him again,"I didn't do nothin." Me: "I mean what if I picked on you?" I grabbed him by his sweater, picked him a foot off the ground, and got within an inch of his face. I could feel all the muscles in my face tense up. I imagined my face looked like the cover of Motorhead's Another Perfect Day.
I said all Clint Eastwood-like,"You wouldn't like that would you?" I paused a moment for effect, then put him down. I smoothed out his sweater, and sent him on his way.

I can't say I recommend this course of action for dealing with students. I think maybe you can get away with it once, and that was the only time I did anything as a teacher even remotely like this. If there was one time that I could pick to do this in my 17 year teaching career, this would have been it, and I don't regret it one bit. My penance was sweating out the cops being called throughout the day (they weren't). I don't think he went to 2nd period high-fiving his buddies though either.