Betty's Attic
Shop Betty’s for nostalgic collectibles. Betty's Attic offers baby boomer toys, dolls, puzzles and games plus classic television, movie and radio memorabilia… Recycle
Friday, August 26, 2016
You might think that by the time the Pokémon game came out in 2006, I would have been too old for video games. Think again. I played right along with my kids. Some people would say I used my kids as an excuse to play the game. And they'd be right. I was just as excited for every new game, cartoon, comic and card set as they were.

Twenty years later, we're all playing Pokémon Go. Along with about 130 million other people all over the world, we get out of the house, away from the TV and try to capture every Pokémon within reach. Fair warning: it's so much fun that you do have to be careful not to get carried away by the chase.

I loved the old video game (and the cartoons, cards, comic books, movies and toys), but the "location-based augmented reality" version of the game is a whole new world.  Not only can you play it anywhere, there are more Pokémon to collect, more places to collect them, and even global fighting teams you can join. But here's the best part of all: this is the first time in my life I've actually lost weight playing a video game!

Posted by: Betty | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, August 19, 2016
America has 412 national parks, monuments, historic sites, and preserves ranging from simple campgrounds to vast underground caverns to giant 1,000-year-old forests. All of them are under the stewardship of the National Park Service, which will turn 100 years old on August 25.

I can't say we visited every one on our many camping trips, day excursions and family reunions, but when I was a kid, the national parks were the place to go for summer fun. That's where I learned to fish, hike, pitch a tent, make a campfire and cook outdoors. And on college road trips, that's where we'd  always park the VW Bus for a day or two of rest.

During the Park Service's Centennial celebration, from August 25 through August 28, all 412 parks will be free to the public. They're also hosting events across multiple parks, like Sing Across America where you can hear local children's' and youth choirs perform a song written especially for the centennial. Visit the Parks Service website to locate a park near you so you can celebrate some of America's most precious treasures and 100 years of National Parks Service stewardship.

Posted by: Betty | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, August 12, 2016
Betty Boop turned 86 years old this week, but va-va-voom! She still looks great! In fact, she looks even better than when she made her first film appearance in a Talkartoons feature Dizzy Dishes.

In that debut appearance she looked more like a poodle than the sex symbol she grew up to be. Drawn with big floppy ears, a huge mouthful of teeth and a black button nose, early audiences said she was "ugly".

By the time I saw Betty Boop for the first time, she was the curvy, sexy 'toon we all know today. My friends and I fell in love with her, collecting everything from Boop dolls and toys to purses and posters. Despite her homely beginnings, she made a bunch of awkward almost-teenagers feel like we could grow up to be like Betty — confident, sweet, fun and pretty — maybe with just a little bit of "va-va-voom" on the side!

Posted by: Betty | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, August 5, 2016
Portland, Oregon, the city whose unofficial motto is "Keep Portland Weird",  just did something weird and wonderful to their bike lanes. They're using the standard bicyclist icon to memorialize fallen rockstars Prince and David Bowie.

But this isn't the first time Portlanders honored the legendary recording artists. For nine years, the city has held an annual "Bowie vs. Prince" bike ride as part of their Pedalpalooza extravaganza. Teams dress as their favorite artist and ride through the city making designated and undesignated stops to dance to the two artists' music and finally meeting up at a warehouse where a huge dance party is held. It's unclear how — or if — a winner is chosen.

It would be hard for me to choose a team. I'll never forget the first time I heard David Bowie's Starman. It made me want to believe that there was someone out there somewhere that wanted to come and meet us, but was afraid to "blow our minds". And Prince, well he did blow our minds with his raunchy lyrics, funky rhythms and absolute mastery of almost every instrument ever invented.

This year's ride is expected to be the last after the sudden deaths of Bowie and Prince within just months of each other, but a bicycle-themed tribute continues with bike lane markers unveiled by the Portland Bureau of Transportation over the last few weeks.

Maybe Portland is weird. But it's weird in a good way. Like Prince. Like Bowie.

Posted by: Betty | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, July 29, 2016
On a hot July day in 1953, an 18-year-old singer/songwriter walked into Sun Studios in Memphis and plunked down four dollars to make his first recording. He left with a 10-inch acetate of  "My Happiness" and "That's When Your Heartaches Begin."  What happened next would change rock & roll forever.

I still remember the first time I heard Elvis Presley on the radio. It wasn't one of his first recordings, but the mega hit, "Blue Suede Shoes." I'd never heard anything like it. Neither had my parents, who called it "noise" and constantly had to shout at me to turn it down. But every kid knew then — and they still know now — that rock & roll is meant to be played loud!

I've seen every Elvis movie and I still have every record he ever made. I played them until the grooves in the vinyl almost disappeared, so as collectors' items, they aren't worth a lot. But to me, they're priceless memories of the King and the birth of rock & roll as we know it.

Posted by: Betty | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, July 22, 2016
I'll never forget the first time I went to Las Vegas. It was a long, family road trip to the wedding of one of our relatives, but I forget who got married. All I remember is "the Strip", which, ironically, isn't actually in the city of Las Vegas. My dad drove us out there to look at all the lights and the people. We had a buffet lunch at one of the casinos, but I don't think my mom or dad ever placed a bet.

The Strip turns 75 years old this year. The El Rancho Vegas resort was the first casino on that section of U.S. Highway 91 in 1941, but it wasn't long before western themed hotel/casinos popped up all around it. In 1946, mobster Bugsy Siegel, backed by Meyer Lansky opened the famed and super swanky Flamingo, which was completely different than anything the Strip had seen so far. Instead of an Old West flavor, it had more of a Hollywood feel.  The Flamingo booked top talent to entertain in its lounges and celebrities flocked to the new upscale resort for Opening Day on Christmas.

Though Siegel was murdered in 1947, his vision for the Strip didn't die with him.  Mobsters built the Riviera, the Sands and the Sahara, during the '50s and '60s. Celebrities and tourists alike couldn't resist the desert resorts and soon over 8 million people a year were visiting the Strip to see Elvis Presley, Dean Martin and, of course, Frank Sinatra.

Right down the road was the Nevada Test Site. Between 1951-1963 the site detonated over 100 nuclear bombs — above ground — earning the city the nickname  “Up and Atom City” because visitors could often see mushroom clouds from their hotel rooms on the Strip.

75 years later, you won't see mushroom clouds, but you'll still see plenty of glitz, glamour and all those bright, flashing lights that I remember from my childhood.

Posted by: Betty | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, July 15, 2016
Captain Jean-Luc Picard was born in La Barre, France, Earth on July 13, 2305. A Starfleet officer, diplomat and dabbler in archaeology, he served the United Federation of Planets during the 24th century. His outstanding service record included commanding Federation starships USS Stargazer, USS Enterprise-D, and the USS Enterprise-E (his last posting).

Maybe it seems odd to wish a happy birthday to a fictional character, but I can't help it. I've seen every episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation at least once. Probably twice. Maybe more. My all-time favorite episodes featured Q, an omniscient being with a nasty and somewhat childish disposition and the Borg, a race of cyborgs that went around the galaxy assimilating entire civilizations in their quest for perfection. (Incidentally, it was Q's fault that humans encountered the Borg many years before they would have wandered into Borg space on their own.)

Picard's accomplishments were many, including:
  • Becoming the liaison between the Q Continuum and the Federation.
  • Making first contact with 27 or more alien species, including the Ferengi (and the Borg).
  • Aiding the Romulan Underground movement, helping dissidents in the effort to take back their home world. 
  • Being appointed the Klingon Arbiter of Succession, where he helped install Gowron as the Chancellor.
  • Becoming the first Terran to survive assimilation by the Borg and be returned to his natural human state.
I'd say that's quite a service record! And even though it's slightly belated, there's still time to celebrate the birthday of one of Starfleet's most honored and recognized Captains by watching reruns of the series, picking up some cool memorabilia or seeing one of the Next Generation movies. Go on, get out there and "make it so".

Posted by: Betty | 8:00 AM | permalink

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