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Archive for January, 2010

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Weebles

Posted by Big Boo on January 13th, 2010

weeblesWeebles wobble but they don’t fall down!

So went the advertising jingle for Weebles, and a truer word has never been said. With their rounded bottoms are slightly odd appearance, Weebles always managed to return to a standing position no matter what you did with them. I guess it was possible to carefully make some of them stand on their heads, but that’s a hand stand, not falling down!

The original Weebles toys first appeared in the early 1970’s and were made by Airfix. These Weebles were basically egg shaped, with a coloured bottom and the top half made in an almost flesh like pinky colour with moulded on details such as arms and face. They normally also had hair or a hat which was a different colour to the base and body.

For some reason though the eyes were two little holes in the plastic. Look at the face as an adult and they feel a little disturbing, staring into your very soul with their blank expression. Funnily enough though, as a child I don’t remember them seeming scary at all. Maybe I’ve watched too many tacky horror films about murderous toys that come to life?

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Citizen’s Band Radio

Posted by Big Boo on January 11th, 2010

cb radioThe picture illustrating this post may be of a more recent piece of equipment, but the general look and style of Citizen’s Band Radio kit hasn’t changed a great deal since it first truly became popular in the 1970s.

CB Radio’s origins actually begin far before this, back in the 1940’s, but it was in the US in the early seventies that they became a useful aid to long distance truck drivers due to an oil shortage and 55mph enforced speed limit on all roads. Truckers would use CB Radio to inform other truckers of places where fuel was available, and where traffic police were hiding out!

CB Radio initially required the user to have a license and a call sign, and it is from the latter that the usage of nicknames or “handles” came into popular use. This soon grew so that CB Radio developed its own language, much like today’s SMS text speak or e-mail TLAs. Most of this language, unsurprisingly enough, centred around things Truckers might need to communicate about, such as types of trucks and cars, place names and the police.

One interesting aspect of CB slang was the code numbers, which normally consisted of the number 10 followed by another number. For example, 10-4 was used in place of “yes”, 10-20 was used to ask someone where they were, and 10-100 meant you were going to leave the air to answer a call of nature!

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What Would You Like To See Here?

Posted by Big Boo on January 9th, 2010

I always love to hear from readers of this site, whether it be through the comments on individual posts or via e-mail. It’s nice to know if I’m doing something people like (and likewise whether I’m doing something they don’t) so I can improve what I have to offer you all.

I received one such e-mail this week which was asking about the possible addition of a forum, which is something I’ve thought about before and am certainly interested in doing. I’ve also got a number of other ideas though for different additions, so I figured I’d use this weeks survey to ask you all what feature you would like to see added to this site the most.

If there’s enough demand for anything in particular then I’ll see what I can do about fulfilling the request. Do let me know of any other ideas you might like to see via the comments as well!

What addition to this site would you most like to see?
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We Are The Champions

Posted by Big Boo on January 8th, 2010

ron pickeringIf you’re currently wondering what a white haired gentleman has to do with a Queen song then you’re thinking of the wrong We Are The Champions. No, today’s post is all about the BBC sports game show of the same name, which was hosted by Ron Pickering, the aforementioned white haired gent.

We Are The Champions was basically a school sports day but on the telly. Teams of kids from different schools competed against each other in a series of events set out on a field and also in a swimming pool. The events were normally in the form of some kind of relay race (though not always) and involved the kids dashing under nets and over obstacles collecting rings or bean bags on the way.

Each of the teams wore different coloured shirts with a large geometric shape printed on in black, such as a big black circle or triangle. Each school obviously chose their best athletes to represent them (well, you supposed they did – it would be the sensible thing to do) whilst the sports-challenged members of the school cheered on from the side lines, normally with the odd air horn for good measure.

Mr. Pickering presided over the show with an authoritative yet friendly manner, befitting of his real job as a sports commentator and Olympic training coach. He started the show in 1973 and presented it for 19 years, until his death in 1991. At this point Gary Linekar took over the presenting duties, but the show finally came to an end in 1995, presumably because it was no longer cool enough for the TV schedules.

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Stocking Fillers - Suppliers to Father Christmas
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2010 – The Year We Make Contact

Posted by Big Boo on January 6th, 2010

2010-odyssey-2What more fitting a way of starting off my posts for 2010 than with a bit on the film and book 2010! Both book and film arrived in 1984, when the year 2010 seemed like ages away. However, unlike some of the wilder predictions of other pieces of science fiction, 2010 probably isn’t that far off the mark. Sure, we don’t have sentient computers or manned space ships orbiting Jupiter, but I don’t think we’re actually that far off from these achievements.

2010 is of course the sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey, which was written by Arthur C. Clarke back in 1968. The film of 2001 was released in the same year and was directed by Stanley Kubrick, and has gone on to be one of those classic critically acclaimed films that are considered by many to be a must see. The film is probably best known for having relatively little dialogue although two lines in particular are oft quoted, these being “Open the pod bay doors, HAL” and “My God, it’s full of stars”.

The storyline of 2001 sees the crew of the space ship Discovery One, which is orbiting Jupiter (originally Saturn in the novel), get bumped off by the ship’s computer HAL 9000 as it decides it doesn’t want to die (i.e. be switched off). Astronaut Dave Bowman manages to survive, although only because he is sucked into a mysterious and huge black monolith which is in orbit around the planet.

2010 picks up the story with the Odyssey Two being sent to Jupiter to try and discover what went wrong with HAL. When they get there they find that HAL is the least of their worries, as hundreds of monoliths appear on Jupiter, increasing the planets mass so that it will implode and turn into a star. This process is being controlled by a group of aliens who wish to study and promote life on Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons.

It has been a good many years since I saw 2010, so my memories of it are hazy, but having done a little research into the plot for the purposes of writing this post I’m actually quite interested in seeing it again. I would say I’d read the novel too, but I never seem to quite find the time to read books any more, which is a bit of a shame.

Search for 2010 items on Amazon.co.uk