Thoughts on Masters of the Universe: Revelation

I finally got a chance to sit down and watch the new Masters of the Universe: Revelation series on Netflix this weekend. I had been under the weather all week and didn’t want to start the series until I was well enough to really pay attention to it and soak it in without being in a medicinal stupor.

While I managed to avoid actual spoilers all week long, I wasn’t able to avoid reading all the negative thoughts and comments on the series. I saw takes that decried how the property was now dead thanks to what Kevin Smith had done with it, and takes blaming the “wokeness” of the times taking over and causing the series’ focus to be changed, and takes on how the whole thing was one big bait and switch. But because I love the franchise so much, I was determined to watch it and decide for myself how I felt about it. And boy am I glad I did. For this edition of Retro Ramblings, let me share with you my thoughts on it.

*Spoilers Ahead*

First, let me just get my overall take out of the way… I LOVED it! I feel like some of the folks complaining about it are only upset that it didn’t fit their expectation of what they were wanting to see, and not judging it on what it actually is. What it actually is is a very well-conceived and executed next step in the Masters of the Universe mythos. Like, if you think of the original series and the 2002 series as an era in the history of Eternia, then Revelation is the next era, and it’s a really exciting and intriguing era. The beauty of it though is that it wouldn’t be near as enjoyable without all of the history we already know. If Revelation is your first foray into this universe, there’s probably not much that is going to stand out to you. But for longtime fans, there is so much greatness highlighted that every episode has numerous things that catch your attention. Here are some of the things I enjoyed most about the first five episodes:

  • The battle at Castle Grayskull in the first episode. So many warriors on each side made it look like a scene from a Lord of the Rings movie.
  • Learning that Castle Grayskull was just a facade put up to hide the Hall of Wisdom.
  • Having the power sword broken in half, bringing back the mythos of the two swords from the original mini-comics
  • Preternia being represented on screen by what the huge Eternia playset looked like
  • The conflict between backers of both magic and science and how the two are at odds. The original toy line and series was based on the fact that Eternia was where magic met science. I love this concept.
  • The alliance of characters that set out to find the two halves of the power sword. Blurring the lines of good and evil by putting them all together with great motives for being involved.
  • All of the characters that got screen time like Scareglow, Mer-Man, Clawful, Stinkor, Fisto, Roboto, Whiplash, and of course all of the usual suspects like Evil-Lynn, Beast Man, and the rest.
  • Portraying Man-at-Arms Duncan as the real most dangerous man in Eternia.
  • Tri-Klops as the leader of a science cult.
  • Orko finally getting to show what a badass he could have always have been.
  • Teela getting the spotlight.
  • Showing what a powerul and deep character Evil-Lynn really is.
  • And that scene when Prince Adam is calling down the power of Grayskull only to be struck down from behind by a returning Skeletor. That was certainly an unexpected by much appreciated moment.

As you can see there, I found a lot to love about this new series, and now I can’t wait for the next five episodes to drop.

If folks out there want to see more stories in the same mold as what we’ve always gotten featuring the struggles and battles between He-Man and Skeletor, I guess this probably does disappoint them. But we already have so many of those stories, and while there is probably a limitless amount of more of those stories that can be told, I genuinely appreciate this bold new direction. It’s like we’re no longer stuck in the endless loop of battle that we’ve seen so many times, and now we’re rocketing into the future with new and unexpected developments.

From all I’ve seen online, I guess this puts me in the minority, but I really dig this new series and look forward to seeing more of it. For the first time in many years, I have no idea what to expect from the Masters of the Universe, and that makes me feel like a kid again.

    Those Cups that Used to Come in Oatmeal

    In this edition of Retro Rambling, I want to take you back to a small slice of nostalgia for me, and that’s back when I used to drink out of those cups that used to come in oatmeal. Maybe you remember them too.

    Do you remember those plastic cups that came in boxes of oatmeal?  For years upon years, I never knew this was a thing.  Mainly because I was never around when my Mom opened the new boxes of oatmeal, and also probably because we didn’t buy the brands of oatmeal that were still doing this in the ’80s. 

    But even though I was totally unaware of this being a thing, I knew all about the cups, and they were favorites of mine.  How is this possible you may be asking, but sit tight and I’ll tell you how I could be at both ends of the spectrum at the same time. 

    My grandmother on my Mom’s side had a lot of grandkids.  18 of us to be exact, and more times than not, there would be at least 5 or 6 at her house at any given time.  As kids do, one would get thirsty, and so that meant all of us were thirsty because Lord forbids if one of us was getting something the others weren’t.  So off to the kitchen we would go, and we all knew which glasses were for us grandkids to use.  The plastic tumblers in shades of blue, green, yellow, pink, and clear. 

    I loved those little tumblers.  The design on the sides were simply little etched blocks, with each row slightly offset from the rows above and below it.  To me, they looked like little trees.  As a matter of fact, we called them tree cups.  Maybe I started that trend among my cousins, I don’t know. 

    But anyway, Granny always had a lot of these tumblers around.  Partly, I believe, because she had a lot of grandkids, and partly because my Granddad ate a lot of oatmeal.  It’s the only thing I ever recall hearing of him eating for breakfast.  Ever.  Biscuits and gravy?  Nope.  Bacon and eggs?  No sir!  Just oatmeal.  So when a man eats oatmeal 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, that means you have to buy a lot of the stuff. 

    That “stuff” that my grandmother bought was Crystal Wedding Oats.  Why they’re called that I have no idea, but it’s not important at the moment.  What IS important, is that every box of this oatmeal came with one of those little tumblers packed inside…in the oatmeal.  You never knew what color you were getting, so completing some kind of set could be hard if you didn’t buy much of the stuff, but that wasn’t a problem for my Grandmother.  She could have had sets of 16 in every color if it weren’t for us kids losing them. 

    So I went years without knowing where those tumblers even came from.  A few years ago, one of my cousins and I were reminiscing about old days at my grandmother’s, and I brought up those little cups, and how fondly I remembered them.  Somehow I came around to asking something like, “I wonder where she got all those?”, and he proceeded to fill me in on the oatmeal box story.  I was kind of blown away actually.  Somehow I had gone my whole life and never heard of such a thing.  Then I went on to find out that some of the dishes I had eaten off of most of my childhood probably came out of boxes of powdered dish detergent, but that’s a story for another day. 

    So not long after the conversation with my cousin, I was talking to a friend and related the story to him.  He knew that those tumblers came in boxes of oatmeal too, and said that his grandmother kept them out for all of her grandkids as well.  He also said that he STILL drank out of those things when he went to her house!  I kind of forgot about our conversation after that, but when I saw him a week or so later, he brought me a couple of those very same tumblers from her house!  He had related my tale to her, and she got such a kick out of it, she gave him a couple of them to bring to me, which I now proudly display in a place of honor in my own personal retro museum. 

    So that’s how I could be totally unaware, and yet totally aware of their existence at the same time.  What about you?  Did you know these were a thing? 

      The Things I Loved About 2020

      2020 may very well go down as one of the worst years on record. We’re talking top 10 all time if I had to guess off the top of my head. But I’m trying to pick out some of the good things from this year instead of continuing to focus on the bad.

      Below are 10 things I loved about this year. I hope you can find some things you loved about it too. Give it some thought and post your list in the comments.

      The Mandalorian!

      Now I know that The Mandalorian debuted in 2019, but I didn’t pick up Disney+ until January of 2020. The first thing we watched on the service was some episodes of The Gummi Bears, but the second was The Mandalorian. We binged the whole first season over a Saturday and Sunday, and when season 2 dropped, we watched every episode as they aired.

      I’ve always considered myself a casual Star Wars fan. I don’t have to be at the theater on opening night to see a new release, and I don’t really collect anything associated with the brand. But I’m telling you right now, The Mandalorian is one of my favorite shows of the last several years.

      To me, it’s a great western. There are certainly plenty of Star Wars references of course, but it just feels like a western to me. And that’s a good thing. I’ll take a heavy dose of Star Wars lore in my wild west feeling show.

      Continue reading

      Merry Christmas 2020!

      Merry Christmas to all of you out there on the interweb!

      I know this year’s Christmas celebrations are probably going to be vastly different for most of us. But I hope we can all still find magic in the season, and that everyone has a safe and happy holiday.

      As for me and mine, it’s going to be a low-key Christmas. It’ll just be my little family of four here enjoying each other’s company. We’ll probably open a present tonight, and then save everything else for the main event tomorrow. We’ll be having a small Christmas dinner on the big day, but there will be plenty of my famous Green Christmas Punch and Cousin Eddie’s Egg Nog to enjoy, as well as plenty of Little Debbie Christmas Tree cakes too!

      In case you’re having a low-key Christmas at home as well, and you’ve had your fill of A Christmas Story, I’ve got a little something you may consider entertaining yourself with this evening…the Mr. T and Emmanuel Lewis Christmas Special from 1984! Give this forgotten old Christmas special a watch this season. It just might brighten your holiday a little bit. I’m embedding the video at the bottom of this post.

      I’ll be taking tomorrow off from posting, but will likely be back on Saturday or Sunday with a recap of whatever cool stuff has found its way under my tree this year. I’m hoping I’ll find some of the Masters of the Universe retro figures hiding in my presents! But until then, have a Merry Christmas, and stay safe.

      What I Got For Christmas in 1986

      In an earlier post here on Retro Ramblings, I posted about how 1986 was the year Santa became real for me. I briefly talked about some of the things I got for Christmas that year, but those little snippets just don’t do all those wonderful toys justice. So here, in detail, is what I got for Christmas in 1986!

      The big one that Christmas morning in 1986 was the G.I. Joe Cobra Terror Drome.  At that time in life, my world revolved around four toys.  G.I Joe, Masters of the Universe, Construx, and Legos….with G.I. Joe being at the top of the list.  Knowing this, it was no surprise to my parents that the biggest hit of the holiday season would be this huge G.I. Joe playset.

      It had room for plenty of figures, so massive battles were a foregone conclusion.  I stockpiled this sucker with every bad guy I had in my collection and then began a full-on assault with all of the good guys I could find.  Even Bo & Luke Duke in their 3 3/4″ figure form and the General Lee got in on the action on the side of the Joes!

      The initial battle was a stalemate, with Cobra barely able to hold off the tremendous might of the Joes, as they retreated back a little way to regroup and plan for a second assault.  Now of course this stalemate was only to ensure that the Terror Drome was intact to play with again the following day.  I spent a while Christmas afternoon interacting with various parts of this set.  The Cobra vehicles re-fueled at the re-fueling station built into it, while some of the top Cobra brass interrogated a captured Joe down in the holding cell area.

      The shine of this toy didn’t wear off anytime soon, but I had gotten quite a few other new toys this Christmas that required my attention, so I had to let the action cool down a little so I could get on to some of the other stuff like…..

      Construx Super Set

      Even though Construx was probably third on my list of favorite toys, getting a Super Set like this one requires almost immediate attention.  I can’t remember exactly what the structure was that this set was designed to build, but I knew from the looks of it that would come in very handy to members of the Joe team on their next assault on the Terror Drome.

      Once I had this thing put together, it could drive right up to the Terror Drome and lift several Joes at once to the top of the Drome and unload them right in the heart of the command center!  What better way to strike right at the heart of Cobra than a direct assault on Cobra Commander and the Barroness?!?  

      Once the great battle of the Terror Drome was over, this set of Construx went on to be featured in lots of other playtimes.  I used the pieces to create all kinds of new toys.  I once built a scaffold to put over the top of my wrestling ring with which to re-create the infamous Scaffold match from Starrcade ’86.  Along with building “steel cages” and assorted other wrestling-related toys, Construx seemed to go along with most other toys I played with.  

      I had a smaller set of Construx, but getting this Super Set for Christmas gave me plenty of pieces for projects all year long.

      Tonka Steel Monsters Destroyer

      I had plenty of hand-me-down Tonka trucks from my brother through the years, but this may have been the very first one that was mine first.  It doesn’t quite look like your normal Tonka truck.  This one seems to be more inspired by Mad Max than construction sites which were the norm for Tonka.  And I didn’t have any of the other vehicles from this particular line, but that didn’t slow down the playtime.

      Now I didn’t take the photo above, but as you can see, it was perfectly sized for G.I. Joe figures, and I made great use of it, as it became the main vehicle for my Dreadnoks figures.  They themselves seemed to be inspired by the post-apocalyptic world of Mad Max as well, so it seemed a perfect fit.  With the bladed grill on this bad boy, it seemed like the perfect counter-offensive to the new Construx weapon that G.I. Joe had in its possession. 

      G.I. Joe Tomahawk

      One thing that Cobra didn’t count on that fateful Christmas day, was G.I. Joe achieving air superiority.  And why should they?  The Terror Drome had the awesome Firebat that could launch right from the Drome itself.  But G.I. Joe had brought a new weapon to the fight in the form of the Tomahawk helicopter.

      The Tomahawk held the pilot and a co-pilot in the cockpit, Two more Joes in the back manning machine guns, and room for several more who could repel out of the rear hatch right into the middle of any hot zone on the battlefield!  It would go on to play a key role in the battle of the Terror Drome, and many other battles in the years to come.

      The Tomahawk was one of my absolute favorite G.I. Joe toys through the years.  It probably saw as much playtime as any other toy I ever owned, and I actually still had it years later when I was too dumb to hold onto all that old stuff and sold it off in a mass sale.  If anyone is looking for a last-minute Christmas gift for me THIS year, put this on the list!

      Masters of the Universe Grizzlor Figure

      I had accumulated a nice size collection of Masters of the Universe figures since ’84 but had few Hordak figures.  This was okay to me though, since a bad guy is a bad guy, and they could just easily align with Skeletor in his battles with He-Man. 

      Grizzlor was a cool one though because of all the fur.  And as a side note, to anyone who still has this figure, I wouldn’t suggest having him get trapped in the Horde Slime Pit.  That stuff is near impossible to get out of his fur.

      I’ve mentioned before that I used G.I. Joe figures to simulate my wrestling playtime.  I would rename them to popular wrestlers of the day like Tully Blanchard, Ric Flair, Wahoo McDaniel, and others.  But I had always had a hard time finding any G.I. Joe figures that resembled my favorite tag team of the Rock and Roll Express.  That problem was solved on Christmas Day 1986, and when the greatest tag team of all time arrived at my house that Christmas morning, Grizzlor had met his match!

      G.I. Joe Tomax & Xamot Figures

      This awesome 2-pack of Cobra figures was kinda highly sought after if my memory serves me.  And if not on a national scale, it certainly was in the circles I ran in. I know I personally had been asking for them for months on end, and they finally arrived that Christmas morning.  With the matching outfits and the silver boots, the minute I opened them, I knew I had finally found my Rock and Roll Express!

      Now to this day, I have no idea why I chose this as the first way to play with Tomax and Xamot.  I didn’t use them in the great battle of the Terror Drome.  No, I held them back, and later in the day, they squared off against Grizzlor on my Dad’s pool table in a weird two-on-one wrestling match with Grizzlor.  Come to think of it, I have no idea why I didn’t get out any of the MOTU figures for play with Grizzlor either.

      Either way, this Rock and Roll Express went on to defeat their hairy tormentor that day, and for probably at least a year, didn’t lose a tag team match in my wrestling rings either.  Still to this day, Tomax and Xamot are in my top five favorite G.I. Joe figures.  Whether they were winning tag team gold in a toy wrestling ring, battling hairy beasts from another universe, or being their intended badass selves on the side of Cobra, they were some of the best action figures I ever had.

      Hot Wheels Snake Mountain Challenge

      I mentioned earlier how the Masters of the Universe was one of my favorite toy lines.  Now, what a treat it was on that Christmas morning to find that they had merged that line with another favorite of little boys everywhere…Hot Wheels!

      This was one of the cool Hot Wheels sets that featured the orange pieces of track, a launcher for the car, and some kind of obstacle.  In this set, the obstacle was a cardboard rendition of Snake Mountain that the car had to jump through at the end to escape, hence the name, Snake Mountain Challenge.

      It even came with a cool silver car with the MOTU logo on the sides of it!

      My Dad set the short track up on the pool table, and he, my brother, and I took many turns that day trying to escape Snake Mountain with little success.  While my Dad and my brother each picked other cars from our Hot Wheels collection to try and make the jump with, I stuck with the great-looking He-Man car for all of my attempts.  It was a super fun way to spend part of Christmas afternoon that day.  But as the hours wore down, it was time to take a little rest and watch some TV.

      G.I. Joe VHS Tape – Satellite Down

      The VCR was new in our home, and I hadn’t had anything to watch on it really.  That is until Christmas morning when Santa saw fit to leave me my very first VHS tape.  It was a single episode of the G.I. Joe series titled Satellite Down.

      It told the tale of a G.I. Joe satellite that crashed in the wild, and both Joes and Cobras raced to the scene to recover it.  There, they met with a weird group of creatures called the Primords who found it and had taken it as a God.  When all was said and done, G.I. Joe came out victorious once more.  I had to watch it twice in a row just to be sure they won both times.

      After those viewings, it was time for the second offensive on the Terror Drome.  The goal was no longer to destroy the Terror Drome, nor to capture Cobra Commander.  Now the mission was to retrieve a downed satellite that Cobra had captured and was storing at the top of the Terror Drome!

      I won’t bore you with too many details, but the assault was a success.  Using the new Construx weapon to lift Joes to the top was a failure since the Dreaknoks new Destroyer dump truck rendered it inoperable.  Cobra thought they were going to have the advantage when they launched the Fire Bat, but it was knocked out of the air by the Duke boys jumping the General Lee off a cliff and knocking it out of the air.  That left the Joes and their Tomahawk with air superiority, and they used it to lower Joes to the top and hook up to the satellite and fly away.  All’s well that ends well I guess.

      I’m sure I went to bed that night with a smile on my face and hugging some toy like Ralphie did his B.B. Gun in A Christmas Story.  The events and gifts of that Christmas are burned brighter into my memory than any other Christmas, because like I told you in the feature, The Year Santa Became Real, Christmas up to that point was somewhat lacking.  But the mega haul of Christmas ’86 solidified my belief in Santa and gave me a lifetime of great memories of that day.

      The Year Santa Became Real

      In this very special edition of Retro Ramblings, I’m sharing a story from my childhood about a Christmas unlike any other I had known before it. It was a Christmas that changed my outlook on the holiday, and as you’ll read, recent events made that particular season all the more special.


      19835 years old…I have no real memories of Christmas that year other than my Grandfather passing away in the first week of December.

      19846 years old…Show and Tell on the first day back to school after Christmas break. I took a little plastic trumpet, silver in color, to school…..and I was so proud of it. Several other kids teased me wondering if that was the best thing I had gotten for Christmas.

      19857 years old…I had gotten a set of 12 toy cars for Christmas. Not Hot Wheels or Matchbox, but a generic version of them. There was a police car, a wrecker, some race cars, and various other cars and trucks. I wore them out that winter and spring I played with them so much.


      By the fall of 1986, my thoughts were starting to turn to the coming Christmas season, and anticipation was starting to build for the holiday. The hope of children isn’t easily pushed to the side, but back in those days, I would be lying if I said that Christmas didn’t feel a little lacking.

      Admittedly, I personally never felt slighted on Christmas morning. Whatever was under the tree from Santa Claus always left a lasting impression on me, even if I sometimes felt the little internal tug of wanting a little bit more. But when I would return to school, and see and hear about all the cool things my friends and others had gotten for Christmas, I would get a little jealous.

      I was a good kid. I never caused trouble at school, and I definitely knew better than to cause trouble at home. I did my chores and I ate my vegetables, so why did I seem to be farther down Santa’s Nice list than some of the other kids? “Jonathon pushed Samantha down and hurt her arm”, “why did he get a huge Lego set and I only got a trumpet?”. “Zach punched me in the arm all year…hard.” “Why did he get a cool G.I. Joe HISS Tank and all the Dreadnoks figures and I ended up with a set of cars?” Such are the worrisome ponderings and questions of a kid who is not aware of all the comings and goings of adulthood.

      What I didn’t know or understand back then, and actually I’m still learning and gaining a greater perspective on now, is that times were very tough for my family in the early eighties. My Dad was a self-employed businessman. He bought and sold new and used conveyor belts to coal mines, and as the coal business went, so did my family’s financial well-being.

      1983 was a very tough year. My Grandfather’s alcohol addiction was in the last stages of consuming his life, and my Dad spent more time helping my Grandmother, both emotionally AND financially, than he did with the business. The first week of December, my Grandfather passed away. Christmas was lean due to dealing with the emotional struggles of losing someone close, and the fact that so much time had been spent away from the business.

      1984 came along, and so did the large-scale United Mine Workers of America strike in West Virginia…..primarily against the A.T. Massey Coal Companies and subsidiaries. West Virginia was always the breadbasket of my Dad’s business. When strikes occurred, it crippled his business and our financial well-being for quite some time, and unfortunately, this strike would not be over quickly.

      1985 came, and the strike was still on. It wasn’t resolved until late in the year. Too late for lost income to be made up. Several straight years of lean and underwhelming visits from Santa Claus were wearing on my faith in the man.

      But then came 1986. The strike had been resolved, and with the mines back in full-time operation, orders poured in from all sides. It was a VERY good year. Not so coincidentally, Santa seemed to fill his sleigh completely just for my family. I guess he was making up for lost time.

      That year, I can vividly remember more cakes and candies and goodies being around than any other. While I was pleased by gifts from previous Christmas days, I was totally blown away on that Christmas morning in 1986! The Cobra Terror Drome! The G.I. Joe Tomahawk Helicopter! Tomax & Zamot 2 pack! Grizzlor figure! The Hot Wheels Snake Mountain Challenge Race Track Set! Tonka Steel Monsters Truck! A huge Construx set! A G.I. Joe VHS Tape! Holy Cow!!!

      It was like Santa Claus was issuing a huge “I’m sorry” for the previous couple of years, and making it up all in one day. And it wasn’t just me. My brother got a see-thru V8 engine kit, and some other cool stuff. My Mom got our family’s first microwave, a new bed coat, new shoes, a new Aigner purse, and a new Aigner leather coat.

      I had always believed in Santa Claus, but 1986 was the year I fully got behind the larger-than-life man. He had come through in a big way and left memories of what was my favorite Christmas season for years….pretty much up until I had kids of my own. I went to school strutting with excitement in anticipation of telling all of my friends what I had gotten for Christmas. I was simply overjoyed.

      The years rolled by, and one Christmas after another was really good, but none reached the heights of triumph that 1986 had. It really wasn’t until my later teen years that I learned and thought I finally understood why 1986 had been so magical. The stories I recounted at the beginning of this article came up in conversation every so often. How the early eighties were a really tight time for my family with the business swings and family issues and all. In 1986, my Dad’s business hit its zenith, and he was finally able to give his family the Christmas he had wanted to through those prior years.

      Well, that’s it. I was 19 years old, and I had heard the tales and understood why those early Christmas mornings were less than stellar. End of story, have a Merry Christmas.

      See, this is how the story has been left and told for the last 16 years of my life. I learned the truth, thought it was cool that when my Dad finally had the chance, he went overboard on us for Christmas, but for all these years, there are other details that he had left out that I didn’t learn until just 3 months ago. Bear with me while I finish this tale.

      Where I currently work, there are several people from throughout the community that also ply their trade here. One of the fellows whom I’ll call James so as to keep his identity private, served with my Dad in those early 80’s years in the local Volunteer Fire Department. James and I would sit around during break periods and talk about those old days. Somehow one evening, the conversation turned to Christmas and other holidays. I recounted an abbreviated version of the events above and explained to James how my Dad had finally had a good year and turned into Santa Claus overnight and threw a big Christmas in ’86. James then proceeded to enlighten me to some details I had never been privy to before.

      He said that “Santa” was a heck of a man, and just because I may not have gotten a lot of toys and such those years, doesn’t mean that there wasn’t much to go around, it just meant that there were more gifts being given to some folks who maybe needed it a little more than I did.

      He piqued my interest and we continued talking and he opened my eyes to so much about those years. He reminded me of the Christmas parties that the Fire Department would host every year. He reminded me that every kid there got a new toy. He said that in those years when the fundraising for the party came in below what was needed, it was my Dad who donated the rest to make sure that every needy child in town got something there and went home happy.

      He told me that when the town’s Christmas decorations that were hung from the light poles in town fell apart and needed to be replaced before the holiday season, it was my Dad who went and got a loan against his business to buy them so the town would still have decorations up for the Christmas season, not just that year, but for years to come.

      And without any hesitation or embarrassment whatsoever, he told me that there was a year in there that he (James) had had a very rough year financially, and was in a real bind coming up on the holidays. My Dad could sense it, and went to James and asked him if he had the money to give his kids a nice Christmas. James told him that, no, probably not. He said my Dad gave him money to buy his three kids presents. He also bought him a ham and some other food for a Christmas dinner, and that my Dad and my uncle cut and delivered him two loads of firewood to see that he got through the season with heat for his family. He told a few other stories in the same vein of my Dad helping people through the holidays.

      I need to tell you right now, I shed a tear listening to James tell me all of these things. For those years as a kid, I may have been selfish and wished for more than I had gotten. As I grew older, I thought I learned the truth and thought my Dad was really cool for making that year of ’86 extra special. But now, all these years later, I learned the rest of the story. I learned that even though I doubted the validity of Santa Claus being real, he IS most definitely alive and well. I learned that the real Santa is a hard-working man who wants the best for his family, but he is also a caring and kind man to everyone else too. He is a humble man, as he never felt the need to talk about all these things he did for people.  And I’m sure that the spirit of Santa Claus lives in many more men than just my own Dad.  

      Through these experiences, he has taught me to care for others, and he has taught me love. Heck, all the things I mentioned in the article I wrote last Christmas about all the great things my Dad gave us each year were inspired by the Christmas of ’86, and at the time of writing, I had no idea just how far-reaching his Christmas spirit carried.  

      It may have taken 37 years now to learn the lesson to this degree, but I go into this coming Christmas season with a newfound outlook and a new attitude. I hope you get something from this story to take with you, and I hope THIS is the most wonderful and magical Christmas of your years.

      Welcome to Retro Ramblings

      I’ve spent most of my adult life looking backward. Hell, I spent a lot of my teenage years looking backward. The difference is that while in my teens, I was looking back fondly on my childhood days a few years prior, and as an adult (allegedly) I spend my time looking back at both my teenage years AND my childhood.

      I knew I was never really alone in doing this, but I spent a lot of years wandering around in the dark without many folks to talk about old stuff with. I first got online in 1996, but it took me until the year 2000 to discover nostalgia-based websites. Then blogs came along and I stumbled across a few of those whose primary focus was talking about stuff I liked from the ’80s and early ’90s. A couple of years after that, I discovered Retro-Daze and found out that I could actually share my own memories with a group of like-minded people.

      So I started writing articles about things I enjoyed while growing up. I was a pretty fortunate kid who had a good childhood, and I found that I had plenty of inspiration for writing articles. My parents weren’t rich, or even well-off. But my dad’s business provided what I would call a comfortable lifestyle for the family. There was always food on the table, and new clothes when we needed them. When I was into something, like a toy line, I usually ended up with a decent amount of it to play with. So I was able to make a lot of positive memories from those days.

      Fast forward a couple of years, and I had found several other bloggers and webmasters whose writing styles I started to emulate. I enjoyed that for a while, but I found that just writing about a “thing” for the sake of writing about it wasn’t fulfilling. I wasn’t sharing my own experiences with that “thing”. I was just writing for attention. And I grew to really dislike that. And after a while, I decided to end that phase of my nostalgia writing and focus instead on writing memories. Writing about stuff that I was actually passionate about instead of writing about something just because I think other people enjoyed it years ago.

      Fast forward a couple of more years, and I ended up co-founding The Retro Network with Jason from Rediscover the ’80s. Jason and I clicked right away, and before long we were joined by a handful of other creators and now have a blossoming community of writers who share memories, along with writing features about “things”. It’s a nice blend. We also have several podcasts as part of the network, and even a dedicated YouTube channel that presents nostalgia-themed original videos. I’ve been so blessed to be able to be a part of that community and to help nurture it.

      With The Retro Network being a place where I can just write about “things” when I want to, it frees me up to just share memories here at Retro Ramblings. And that’s what I intend to do. You shouldn’t really find random posts about “things” here. What you should find, I hope, are essays and articles from my heart, with plenty of memories to fill the space with.

      I’ll be sharing memories of toys I had and some I didn’t but really wanted. Stories about Nintendo, G.I. Joe, Masters of the Universe, ’90s comic books, trading cards, and one of my favorite subjects of all…extinct junk food. There’ll be other stuff thrown in along the way too, I promise.

      A lot of my nostalgia has to deal with my mom, who is now in a nursing home suffering from dementia. It’s a cruel disease, and I’ve watched it wipe away most of her memories. It saddens me tremendously that she can no longer remember all of the fun times she and I enjoyed together through the years. That is a big reason for doing Retro Ramblings. It’s kind of a tribute to her as I reminisce about the fun she helped make possible by buying me those toys, Nintendo games, and candies that can no longer be found.

      So I hope you enjoy this winding trip down memory lane that I’m going to take you on. It’s going to be a fun ride.

      – Mickey