School Lunch and the Amazing Magical Slush Puppie Machine


The High School I went to did not have an open lunch program. That meant that you could not leave school grounds to eat and that the school cafeteria had a lock on lunches if you didn’t brown bag one. I was one of those that brought their lunch from home normally, but from time to time I would be in a rush and not get to make my sandwich before school and would be at the mercy of the school lunch program.

Now I remember hearing all sorts of stories about junk food in schools back then, a discussion that still rages today, but my school had very little in the way of proper junk food. We had no vending machines, no soft drinks, no candy bars. Nothing. The only treat you could get was the dessert option which was a tiny piece of cake or jello.

As a junk food junkie, I hated the school lunch. The best I could hope for was a pizza, which was always on Friday, so often instead of eating I just saved my money for video games.

That changed when on one magical Monday a murmur spread through the cafeteria. Something new had arrived. That something new was a Slush Puppie machine.

Needless to say it was a hug hit and the line slowed to a crawl as every kid wanted one. At the end of the first day they ran out of the syrup they use to make these cold tasty drinks and it would be week before they reactivated the machine.

From that day forward I would always try to have a few coins in my pocket at lunch to get a grape Slush Puppie as a dessert even when I brought my lunch from home. It might not have been a healthy addition to our lunch room, but unlike just about everything else they served, it had flavor, and my memories of enjoying a frosty cold drink before getting back to the tedium of my daily classes still sticks with me to this day.

Super Mario Reversible Backpack

Back to school time is approaching and I am sure everyone out there just has one thing on their mind. What backpack should I get? Sure you could go with a basic color or maybe be too cool for school and go backpackless, but to be really cool, you want to go old school That is why you should pick up one of these swell Super Mario Reversible Backpacks. Featuring level 1-1 and 8-4, each colorful side of the backpack will delight and attract attention, so don’t hesitate. Head over to 80sTees and have them inform you when they are back in stock (yes they are that popular).


[via] 80sTees

Enjoy this Anti-Hippie Filmstrip from 1967


I was in school well after the whole hippie thing had been played out in the country, but the board of education in my hometown did not see it that way and we saw many films and filmstrips like this in my school. Did I get the message? I am not sure, I was just so excited to be able to operate the film projector that I didn’t care what was on the screen. Instead, I would sit on the edge of my seat, anticipating the next beat and waiting to turn the knob and advance the strip.

We had these beautiful two-tone green filmstrip projectors that would get so warm that if you leaned over it for too long you might burn yourself. I would keep a comfortable distance and by the end of any film I was toasty as if I had sat by a fire. Boy, I miss those projectors.

Try and picture all that while watching this film. Maybe hang out over a running toaster to help complete the effect?

WARNING: Do not hang out over a toaster. You will burn yourself and ruin your toast (I learned that lesson the hard way).

The High Cost of Homecoming Mums (1989)


I did not always enjoy my High School experience, but my exposure to the outside world was limited back then and I had very little to compare it to. Maybe I ran in circles that didn’t care or was just unaware, but I do not think that my school had anything like the madness that was taking place at South Grand Prairie High School. There a simple flower tradition has gotten way out of hand and the hard-hitting school TV production class does a no holds barred piece on the subject. It is a fascinating look at a local school tradition.

Heading back to school? Make sure to trap that paperwork in your Trapper Keeper!

In honor of all the little ones returning to the hallowed halls of learning this week, I thought I’d share a fond memory from my elementary school days: Mead Trapper Keepers!

When I was in grade school, just about everyone had one of these for their school papers. In the earlier years, the binder design was actually quite plain – a single color with just the branded name across the closure flap.


But then the binder designs advanced to photos of things like horses, sports imagery, and hot air balloons.


Then in the late ’80s Mead started to sell their “Designer Series” which included some pretty fanciful images for boys and girls, including Lisa Frank-designed covers with unicorns and hearts and rainbows, and other covers that featured abstract, computer graphic-style artwork.

Looking back at some of the more out-there designs makes me wonder if the Art Director at Mead gave an illustrator the following instructions “show me what it would look like if Hal 2000 wound up in the movie Dune, and had to take a Driver’s Ed test. Or maybe show me Hal 2000 playing chess on a Miami Vice-style board.”


The term “Trapper” actually refers to the folders inside the binder (making the binder itself the “keeper” part of the equation). The difference between a Trapper and a regular old folder was that the pockets were cut vertically, as opposed to your more basic horizontal folder flaps, thus helping to secure, or “trap” your papers inside the binder, even if you were to turn it upside down.

While the design of the Trapper Keeper was certainly awesome for any pre-teen, I will say that the plastic rings that were meant to hold 3-hole loose leaf paper and trapper folders really stunk; the more paper or folders that you needed to add to the rings, the more likely that one of the three rings would eventually break (after all they WERE made of plastic, as opposed to the metal rings in your more run-of-the-mill blue binders). So you basically had to buy a new Trapper Keeper before the first half of the school year was through (which I guess was actually a clever way to get people to buy double the amount of Mead binders).

I remember three of my beloved Trapper Keepers: one had a unicorn and baby unicorn on it, one was the abstract seashell pattern seen above, and the last one was this curly ribbon design.


Although, whenever any of the plastic casings on my Trapper Keepers broke or cracked (and that also happened with regularity within the earlier months of a new school year), I would, without fail, rush to insert a picture of my favorite musician or actor in between the backboard and the plastic cover. And that is how I came to design my own custom Motley Crue Trapper Keeper, which basically looked like this: