Some ’90s Heartthrob Akshun

Dear 1990s,

Please send me the following:

Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy:

A sheepish-looking Hugh Grant:

And, just to prove that I am capable of being infatuated with young-ish stars, and not just older British gents, Titanic-grade Leo:


Me in high school

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It Was a Simpler Time…

The year was 1991.
The film was Hot Shots.

And the man…the man was Charlie Sheen.

Call me an ignorant “troll,” but I’ll take Topper Harley over a Vatican-assassin warlock any day of the week.

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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s the most wonderful time of the year
They’ll be much green-a-glowing and tastebuds letting you knowing
That Shamrock Shakes are here!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…







It’s the hap-happiest season of all
Stomachaches will be aching and fake yolks will be bursting
When the Cadbury Bunny comes to call!
It’s the hap-happiest season of all!










As everybunny knows…it’s the most wonderful time…of the year!

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E-lec-tric Youth!

On a bleak January day, the alarming and unmistakable sound of glass breaking halted all activity in the main lobby area of Forest Hills Elementary School. Before our eyes could show us what had happened, our noses gave us all the information we needed to know: a bottle of Debbie Gibson for Revlon’s “Electric Youth” perfume had fallen from the hands of a careless sixth-grader onto the flecked gray-and-black tile floor. The sweet, citrus-y scent, intoxicating though it was, could not soothe the deep sense of loss each female student felt during such a travesty. And once we could bear to look, and see that cheerful pink coil bouncing and flailing forlornly in the air, each of us knew that no amount of babysitting money or increase in allowance could ever truly make up for the loss experienced by Cara C. that day.

In fact, only one thing could lift the spirits of anyone who experienced so great a material loss, and that is to watch Debbie Gibson’s “Electric Youth” and be energized by both her performance and the lyrics. The future only belongs to the future itself, after all.


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Balki Bartokomous: Living the American Dream

Perfect Strangers was popular in my household as a kid. (My dad could never remember what it was called, and simply would ask if Funny Guys was on.) Who wouldn’t be charmed by this sitcom? You’ve got Balki Bartokomous, fresh off the boat from a distant land, eager to learn American ways from his cousin, Larry Appleton. What with the cultural and langauge barriers, not to mention Balki’s insistent optimism and Larry’s lazy ambition, the Odd Couple had nothing on these two!

But if you really want to be inspired, just watch the intro. Allow me to impress you by typing the “hook” portion of the lyrics from memory:
Standing tall/on the wings of my dreams/rise and fall/on the wings of my dreams/the rain and thunder/the wind and haze/I’m bound for better days/It’s my life/And my dream/And nothing’s gonna stop me now…

My friends in the theatre, take note: Wouldn’t it be something if a male vocalist auditioning for, say, Oklahoma! had the you-know-whats to roll up to the casting director and say calmly, “For my vocal selection, I will be performing the theme song to Perfect Strangers”?

If I were that casting director, I would know I had found my Curly.

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Chi-Chis (and I Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout B-Cups)

When the Chi-Chi’s restaurant chain unceremoniously closed all its doors nationwide in 2004, it was like a roundhouse kick the gut for me. (Note to Self: Write a blog post about the ’90s Nickelodeon show Roundhouse.)

America, what could you possibly want more in a restaurant? That salsa was darn good, and to a high school students, free chips and salsa were the cornerstone of a night on the town. (If by “the town” one meant “the Applewood shopping complex just off of Scatterfield.”) The entrees were decently priced, so you wouldn’t have to sink too much of your babysitting, lifeguarding, or thankless restaurant working money into a Saturday night. To this day, the green sauce on top of their Grande Burritos is the green sauce to beat.

And talk about ambiance! So colorful…so friendly…so cheerful…so authentic!

And finally, blissfully, fried ice cream.

That crispy, burnt-sugar-y crust. That impossibly intact ice cream center. That ring of whipped cream, and that little dollop with the cherry on top. That chocolate sauce pooling through every bite, making everything better. (If you were one of the nutjobs who got the honey topping, please exit stage right.) Fried ice cream will forever remain the world’s best mid-priced chain restaurant dessert…and with also-rans like Applebee’s Maple Walnut Blondie and Ruby Tuesday’s Chocolate Tallcake waiting in the wings, that’s saying a LOT!

Elsewhere in this blog, I’ve said that I’m glad some ’80s/’90s products, shows, and other bits of nostalgia are now defunct, as it makes them exclusively special to childhood. But believe me when I say that if I could serve Chi-Chi’s fried ice cream instead of cake or cupcakes or whatnot at my very own wedding, I would do it.

I love you, Chi-Chi’s. Gone, but not forgotten…

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Barbie’s Dream Kitchen

What I remember best about Barbie’s Dream Kitchen was that:
a) It strongly smelled of vanilla. Yum!
b) It had so many details…little wine goblets, a roast turkey, buttons and dials for just about everything

And it remains to this day my ideal of a dream kitchen…way to blaze the trail for the “island” kitchen concept long before it was popular, Barbie! Look at how much SPACE she has to cook and clean…and yet, it’s so economized!

In the words of La Zoe: “I. Die.”

I didn’t have a lot of Barbie “settings.” I didn’t have the Dream House. I think my sister had Home and Office Barbie’s dwelling/workspace, but that might have belonged to our neighbor, now that I think of it. But I was content with the kitchen. Food and Barbie…what more does a girl need?

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