Friday, August 29, 2008

I am one in a milliion 108.
LogoThere are
people with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

If they included Canada, this number would probably increase tenfold. And when I use "Rik" instead of my full name (Richard), it says I am the only one in the US!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Rik's Blog, 80's Edition: Sports

I could actually dedicate a month's worth of posts dedicated to sports in the 80's. I grew up an avowed sports junkie and about the only sport I never got into in the 80's was of course car racing. Boston was a great place to be for sports fans in the 80's. It started with the Miracle on Ice in 1980 which had a heavy Boston tilt to it. My mother, for some inexplicable reason, became a huge Celtics fan in the early 80's and I really got spoiled growing up watching the Big 2 (Bird, McHale, Parish) and all the great Celtics teams of the 80's. We got a flicker of success in the mid 80's with the Patriots before it all came crashing down. I cried in 1986 when the ball went through Buckner's legs. Thankfully, the hated Yankees didn't win a World Series title in the 80's either. But I think what I miss most is watching the Bruins teams they had in the 80's. They never won the Stanley Cup but they had some great characters, guys like Rick Middleton, Brad Park, Gord Kluzak, Mike Milbury.

As far as playing, we played everything in the 80's. I played little league baseball, youth league basketball and soccer and spent the winters playing pick up hockey on the frozen ponds around our town, usually with our neighbors the Roys who were from Canada (and yes, the youngest son was named Patrick).

One memory that sticks out in my mind was somewhere around 1981, my father had taken us to Boston for the day and we were having lunch in the North End, which is the Italian section of Boston and has some amazing pizza. So we're in the pizzeria and I look over and in one of the booths is a guy who looks just like Larry Bird. I tell my father and of course, he's not a sports fan so he says "Go over and ask him". At first I was shy but I was such a huge fan that eventually I did go over and ask "Excuse me...are you Larry Bird?" The guy gave me a nervous laugh and said "No, sorry, I'm not". So I was disappointed but when I got home that night I looked in the paper and they did have a home game that day...and the guy was with a woman and young girl and Larry did have a wife and young I've always preferred to think that he really was Larry Legend and that he just didn't want to be recognized.

Anyway, I could on forever about being a sports fan in Boston in the 80's but luckily for me, WBZ-TV did it for me. I remember seeing this on TV at the close of the decade and was lucky enough to find it online a while back...

Every clip in that video is a memory...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Steve-O needs no introduction on my blog, but if you need a reminder, read this old post. As I've written before, the thing I look forward to most every year is Steve-O's annual visit. But life is about to get a lot better: Steve-O recently got a job in Karlsruhe, which is only about about 30 minutes away from Heidelberg. He arrives this weekend to begin his new life in Germany and I cannot tell you how excited I am about it. I foresee many road trips, movie and TV quotes, pints of Guinness and an endless supply of quips, stories and laughs in my future...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Rik's Blog, 80's Edition: Forgotten Songs

We all know that the 80's had some great music. The past few years, 80's music has been making a comeback - everybody knows all the well known songs but there were a lot of great songs that a lot of people have forgotten and that's a shame. With that in mind, I thought I'd try to list some of the songs that I loved in the 80's despite them not being very popular, not getting a lot of airplay, or not having reached very high on the charts. Some of them are one-hit wonders, some of them are follow-ups to smash hits, and some actually were hits but don't get played much anymore. Some of them I liked mostly because the song's video was cool or maybe because they make me remember a particular memory. Anyway, I hope you enjoy them and feel free to recommend any I might have missed...

Queen Of Hearts ~ Juice Newton
I Love You ~ Climax Blues Band (One of my two favorite songs of all time)
I’ve Done Everything For You ~Rick Springfield (I had this 45)
Don’t Talk To Strangers ~ Rick Springfield
Pop Goes the World ~ Men Without Hats
One in a Million ~ The Romantics (Great 80's video)
When You Close Your Eyes ~ Night Ranger
You Got Lucky ~ Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
In a Big Country ~ Big Country
Space Age Love Song ~ Flock of Seagulls
I Do ~ J. Geils Band
I Don’t Wanna Dance ~ Eddie Grant
Don’t Answer Me ~ Alan Parsons Project
Leather and Lace ~ Stevie Nicks and Don Henley
Stop Dragging My Heart Around ~ Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty
You Should Hear How She Talks About You ~ Melissa Manchester (Great Youtube clip of her singing this on Solid Gold)
Somebody’s Baby ~ Jackson Brown
Leader of the Band ~ Dan Fogelberg
Vacation ~ The Go-Go's
Break it to me gently ~ Juice Newton
One Hundred Ways ~ James Ingram
Southern Cross ~ Crosby, Stills and Nash
Only Time Will Tell ~ Asia
Love me tomorrow ~ Chicago
Bobbie Sue ~ Oak Ridge Boys
Do You Wanna Touch Me ~ Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Fantasy ~ Aldo Nova
Rumors ~ Aldo Nova
Nobody Said It Was Easy ~ Le Roux
Words ~ Missing Persons
Solitaire ~ Gloria Branigan
They Don’t Know ~ Tracey Ullman
Personally ~ Karla Banoff
Desert Moon ~ Dennis DeYoung
Major Tom ~ Peter Schilling
Rock Me Tonight ~ Billy Squier
Give it Up ~ KC
So Bad ~ Paul McCartney
Run Runaway ~ Slade
My Oh My ~ Slade
No Way Out ~ Starship
The Curly Shuffle ~ Jump 'n the Saddle
Catch me I’m falling ~ Real Life (If you want to see what the 80's looked like, watch this video)
All I Need ~ Jack Wagner (He of General Hospital fame...)
Lovergirl ~ Teena Marie (Takes me back to fishing in Brickyard Brook for some reason)
Obsession ~ Animotion
The Search Is Over ~ Survivor
Heart and Soul ~ T'Pau
Sleeping Bag ~ ZZ Top
Party All the Time ~ Eddie Murphy
Think She Likes Me ~ Treat Her Right
Burning Flame ~ Vitamin Z
Secret Separation ~ The Fixx (Saw these guys in concert with the Moody Blues in '86)
She Sells Sanctuary ~ The Cult
Calling on You ~ Stryper (Saw these guys in concert too...twice!)
Electric Blue ~ Icehouse
King Of Rock ~ Run DMC
Lovin Every Minute of it ~ Loverboy
Cry ~ Godley and Creme
Kayleigh ~ Marillion
Tender Years ~ John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band (Eddie and the Cruisers, 80's classic)
I Wonder If I Take You Home ~ Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam
Someday ~ Glass Tiger (Only in an 80's video would a dude wear a pink shirt and a maroon beret)
If You Leave ~ OMD
Tuff Enuff ~ The Fabulous Thunderbirds
Beat’s So Lonely ~ Charlie Sexton
The Captain of her Heart ~ Double
I Might Lie ~ Andy Taylor (Duran Duran pretty boy turns into hard rocker)
At This Moment ~ Billy Vera and the Beaters (Every time I hear this song, it reminds me of the Family Ties episode where Ellen breaks up with Alex)
You Got It All ~ The Jets
Take It Easy ~ Andy Taylor (Another great 80's movie - American Anthem)
Meet Me Halfway ~ Kenny Loggins (Great 80's song from a great 80's movie - Over the Top)
Since You’ve Been Gone ~ The Outfield (Very underrated 80's band, their first album was one of my favorites)
Naughty Girls Need Love ~ Samantha Fox
I Want To Be Your Man ~ Roger
I Want Her ~ Keith Sweat
Oak Tree ~ Morris Day and the Time (Remember the Oak Tree dance that went along with it?)
Girl I’m Gonna Miss You ~ Milli Vanilli (I don't care what anybody says, I liked their music)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Rik's Blog, 80's Edition: Boston Bands

One thing I remember about the 80's was a couple local bands: Jon Butcher Axis and The Stompers. As far as I know, neither of them hit it big outside Boston and pretty much made a living playing clubs in and around the Boston area. I listened mostly to rock stations back then and their shows were always being advertised. Occasionally they would have a hit that would get a lot of airplay on the radio. JBA in particular I really liked as he was a his songs had a lot of energy and blazing guitars. My favorite song of his was called "Don't Say Goodnight" and I recently found it on Youtube, although it's actually just a homemade video that someone posted but the song sounds as good as ever:

The Stompers were also a local institution in Boston. They had a little more commercial success than JBA did but were still pretty much resigned to local clubs and venues. One thing I remember about the Stompers is that they had a couple videos that got a lot of airplay on Boston's local video channel called V66 (People who grew up around Boston in the 80's will remember V66!) Their biggest hit was called "Never Tell an Angel" and it's extremely catchy. They have a live version of it on Youtube but you can hear the actual version on, of places, their Myspace page:

The Stompers Myspace

I remember 'em like it was yesterday...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Rik's Blog, 80's Edition: BLASPHEMY!

One American Olympic athlete that I will NOT be rooting for at the Beijing games is wrestler Ben Askrin. Mr. Askrin has seen fit to denigrate one of the greatest 80's movies of all time: Vision Quest. But he didn't stop there - he also took a veiled shot at the 80's in general. Here's what he said:

"'Vision Quest' is a terrible, terrible movie," Askren says during a deep-thoughts session from his room in the Olympic Village. "It's just so stereotypical and '80s."

Let me tell you something Ben Askrin. You may be competing at the Olympics...but you, my friend, are no Louden Swain.

Rik's Blog, 80's Edition: Random 80's memory

It was spring of 1986, I was a freshman at Alvirne High School. I had a class called Communications that was supposed to teach us how to communicate in various venues such as speech giving, debating, interviews, etc. My teacher was a strict, old, school-marm type woman named Mrs. Pryor who dressed like it was 1886 and used to say stuff like "why are you tardy?" when you would come in late.

On this particular day, our assignment was to split up into groups and give an informational speech on a major current event - the US bombing of Libya. We broke up into our groups with our newspapers - since we were supposed to cite sources - and prepared our speeches. We had a nerdy little guy in our group named Jason Weatherbee and he and I were talking about the bombing as we wrote our notes and he was telling me some of the stuff he had heard in the news and such and one of the things he told me was that he'd heard that, although France had refused to allow the Americans to fly over their country on their way to Libya, they were actually secretly in favor of the bombing action.

So one by one we got up and gave our news speeches and eventually it came to be my turn. I got up and started droning on and on about stuff I'd read, but I was having trouble trying to fill my alloted time. So I figured I'd impress the class and Mrs. Pryor (and get a higher grade) by giving them some "inside information". Here's how it went:

Me: The news is reporting that a lot of countries in Europe were against the bombing but I've just learned that even though France said they were against it and would not let the US jets fly over their country, they were secretly in favor of it and supported the action...

Mrs. Pryor: That is quite an astonishing assertion. Would you please provide us with a source for your information?

Me: Jason Weatherbee told me.

Needless to say, Mrs. Pryor was not impressed. But hey, I was 14, how was I supposed to know that Jason Weatherbee was not an acceptable source?! I think I ended up with a C...and a severe tongue lashing from Mrs. Pryor.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Monday, August 18, 2008

Rik's Blog, 80's Edition: Reliving the teen movies

Thought it might be appropriate to a couple of my older posts, given the topic...

My favorite 80's Teen Movie

The Wonder of the 80's Teen Movies

Have at it!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Rik's Blog, 80's Edition: Classic videos

Let's see...

Mullets? Check.
Members Only jackets? Check.
Parachute pants? Check.
Heather Locklear lookalike model? Check.

Survivor is definitely in the pantheon of 80's bands. It's a real shame that people only remember them for the Rocky themes, they had so many other great songs. The "Risky Business" tribute near the end of this video is an especially nice touch...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Rik's Blog, 80's Edition: The (probably incomplete) list of my favorite 80's TV shows

I'm sure I will miss some but here goes, in no particular order:

Cosby Show
Family Ties
The A Team
Diff'rent Strokes
Silver Spoons
Greatest American Hero
The Young Ones
Spencer: For Hire
Night Court
Three's Company
Growing Pains
Gimme a Break
Bosom Buddies
Facts of Life
My Two Dads
Who's the Boss
Happy Days
The Hogan Family
Just the 10 of Us
Real People
Too Close for Comfort
It's Your Move

And as an added bonus, check out this wicked awesome 80's TV show trivia

Friday, August 15, 2008

Rik's Blog, 80's Edition: Random 80's photo of me

This is me sometime in 1987, complete with mullet. And if you're wondering why my hair looks sort of orange, it's because one day during the summer my brother came home with this revolutionary new product called "Sun-in". You wet your hair, spray in a bunch of Sun-in and then go lay out in the sun and it's supposed to turn your hair blond...or so we thought. It didn't seem to work the first time so we tried again. And again. And again. Eventually my hair turned a sort of tan/orange color. That's the kind of thing we did in the 80's.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Rik's Blog, 80's Edition: Forever Young

Let's start things off right - this is the song that ignited my 80's nostalgia kick. A few weeks ago I watched a movie called "The Lather Effect". I was keen to watch it as it is about a bunch of people who graduated high school in 1988 (I was class of 1989) and takes place present day, they are having sort of a reunion weekend, so I anticipated a lot of 80's memories. I was disappointed in the movie but there's a moment near the end when the lead female character is on her bed looking at her old photos and memories from high school and as she does so, the song "Forever Young" by the obscure band Alphaville is quietly playing in the background. Well, I gotta tell you, I have not heard that song in forever and as I heard it I was instantly whisked back to the 80's. I quickly found the video on Youtube and have watched it constantly for the past week or two (much to the wife's chagrin). It has been quite a while since a song struck such an 80's chord with me but I've listened to this song about 500 times in the past few weeks and each time old memories of high school come rushing back.

Rik's Blog: The 80's Edition

For some strange reason, I have been on a tremendous nostalgic kick lately for all things 80's. For this reason, I've decided that until further notice, all posts on the blog will be 80's related. I have no idea how it'll be structured so I'm just going to write about 80's stuff as it pops into my head - I may even make several posts in the same day, who knows. As always, suggestions are welcomed but no guarantee that they will be heeded. Before we start, a quick introduction:

I am an unabashed child of the 80's. I was born in the early 70's which meant all of my formative years were spent in the years 1980-1990. It's where it all happened for me. We had it all - the best music, the fashion, the best movies, the best tv shows, the best of everything. So sit back and reminisce with me as I relive some of the happiest days of my life...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Monday, August 11, 2008

I have been tagged by Grace.

Despite being in the blogosphere for almost 4 years now, I have actually never been "tagged", at least not that I can remember. Being tagged is kind of a neat thing that bloggers do. It basically consists of a bunch of random questions about yourself that you answer and then pass the questions on to someone else that you know, a practice known as "tagging". Grace and her husband Mikie are really good friends of ours who live in Rotterdam. Mike is Dutch and Grace a Filipina. People who are ardent followers of this blog might remember them from My last Italy post. We really miss Mike and Grace and wish we could spend more time with them as they are really special people. But for now, here's the tag...


10 years ago I had just arrived in Europe and was starting my life over at age 27. I could probably write a book about the fact I did!


1. Check Red Sox score.
2. Check Olympic results.
3. Take shower.
4. Go video fishing with X Man.
5. Make Luca laugh.


1. Grana Padano
2. Green olives
3. Fruit
4. Nuts
5. Didi


1. Nashua, NH
2. Litchfield, NH
3. Rindge, NH
4. Hampton Beach, NH
5. Dover, NH
6. Hudson, NH
7. Kitzingen, Germany
8. Caldogno, Italy
9. Heidelberg, Germany


1. Buy a football (soccer) team
2. Season tickets to the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, Bruins and AC Milan
3. Buy houses in Montana, Alaska, Hong Kong, Philippines, and Italy
4. Get back at those who have wronged me (you know who you are)
5. Hire a posse
6. Buy the Pittsburgh Pirates and make them relevant again
7. Hire a world class chef Giada DiLaurentis and Rachel Ray to go with me everywhere and make whatever kind of food I am craving
8. Become BFF's with Tom Brady
9. Buy a Mercy ship and make my brother Eric the captain
10. Buy my own sports bar, make Gino the manager and host our own radio show to rival PTI

Saturday, August 09, 2008


A humorous look at gli Italiani!

(Warning: contains a few bad words)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

10 Things You (Probably) Don't Know About the X Man...

1. His favorite show is Spongebob Squarepants. He's addicted to cartoons of any kind but Spongebob is on another level with him. He once told me "Spongebob is my lovah".

2. He is Italian through and through. Despite having no Italian blood in him, he was born and spent the first 3 years of his life there and it shows; pasta and pizza are his favorite foods. When we go back to Italy, the first thing he asks for is "pasta Angie" (pasta prepared by our neighbor Agnese). He also has to have olive oil and balsamic vinegar on pretty much everything he eats.

3. AC Milan is his favorite "calcio" (soccer) team. I bought him an AC Milan jersey with "Pato" on the back and it is by far his favorite piece of clothing. Everyday when he gets dressed he asks if he can wear his Milan shirt. If he could, he would wear it every single day. He wears it so much that the Italians at the local gelateria have started calling him Pato.

4. He's scared of...well, pretty much everything. Seriously, this kids is the biggest wuss I've ever seen in my life. He's scared of flies and flips out when one comes near him. He's terrified of bees. He won't sleep with his nightlight, he has to have his bedroom light on. He's scared of dogs. He's scared of the elevator. Seems like everyday we discover something new that he's afraid of.

5. He has no style. He recently had his haircut and I was telling him how cool he looks. Then I told him that next we should shave all of his hair off. The wife said that he should get a mohawk. His reply was "Daddy, I want a mullet".

6. He loves to draw. He obviously gets this from the wife. One of his favorite activities is drawing, coloring and painting. And he's actually got some talent for a 4 year old.

7. He's also in love with The Transformers. He's got a few Transformer toys and carries them with him everywhere. He constantly sings the theme song of the old cartoon (More than meets the eye...robots in disguise!). Of course, he won't watch them by himself because he's too scared of Megatron.

8. He loves board games. Last year I bought him the game Trouble and all he wanted to do was play it. I bought him Operation, same thing. A few months ago he developed an obsession with checkers and chess; he doesn't know how to play but no matter, he makes up his own rules. Lately he's been dragging out Life, setting it up on the living room floor and making up his own rules to that. He's also been bugging me to play Monopoly. I'm trying to take advantage by looking for educational games.

9. He is fussy eater. This is a constant source of frustration for the wife and I. He will not drink milk so we try to make him eat a lot of cheese and yogurt for calcium and protein. He will only drink water or certain kinds of juice. Anytime we eat, we constantly yell at him to eat or else he will just sit and play or talk. He usually is still at the table an hour after we're finished. And his favorite ploy is to whine and complain that his tummy hurts so won't have to eat anymore after a few bites. The wife is always worried because he's so skinny but I tell her I'm not worried because he has an endless supply of energy. And besides, at least he's not obese like many American kids are these days.

10. He currently has a Kung Fu Panda obsession. I took him to see it in the theater a few weeks ago and he laughed all the way through it. He sometimes mimics the Kung Fu Panda's karate moves in the pub and asks me every day when the DVD is coming out so we can buy it.

And a bonus one...

11. He's very musical. He loves music of all kinds and remembers the words to a lot of the songs he hears - his current favorite is "Rock Star" by Nickelback. He likes to sing to his little brother sometimes. The people at the pub sometimes play songs that he knows just to hear him sing and watch him play his air guitar. He also loves hip hop; I know this because the other day he asked me "Daddy, is the black one the coolest one because he makes cool music?" I was a bit confused so I asked what he meant and he replied "You know, the black one, the one that says 'yo' he the best cause he makes cool music?". So yeah, he likes hip hop.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Random picture.

Eating bulgogi at the local Korean restaurant sometime last year. The name of the restaurant is "Mr. Whang". Seriously.