A blast from the past

April 26, 2006 at 2:49 am (Uncategorized)

Good morning. Today is April 26, 2006. There will likely be much talk about life changing events that occured two decades ago. On 26 April 1986, at 1:23 AM, reactor number four at the Chernobyl nuclear power station exploded. The radiation released was over a hundred times more than that chernobyl04.jpgof the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The death toll from that disaster is still debated. Some say fewer than 50 people have died as a result, others insist hundreds of thousands have died either directly or from cancer and other long term health problems. That's not to mention the birth defects and deformities some believe are linked to the lingering effects from the Chernobyl explosion.

Me, I have no idea. I've been reading historical accounts of the disaster and trying to remember where I was when it all went down. Frankly, I can't. It was 1986, I was just out of high school, and keg parties were still the mostmark4.jpg important events of my life. There was also a lot of bad weed going around Waterville and… well, things get hazy. I wish I had a photo of myself back then, with the long hair and the bandana (around the head, not around the leg. We weren't Scott Baio fans, for chrissakes). I have none, however. And so I'll just insist that I was a clean, responsible lad who probably looked like this.

It's funny. I remember where I was when Regan was shot (at a wooded area known as Devil's Chair with two girls and a dirt bike), when Lennon was killed (sleeping off a hangover after raiding a liquor cabinet the night before) and when the space shuttle exploded just two months before the Chernobyl mess (sleeping off a hangover and planning to get up just in time to go to night school). Nuclear nastiness in the Ukraine? I have no idea.

Lauper.jpgAt any rate, we had little to worry about on this side of the world. Billy Idol, Poison, the Go Go's and Cindi Lauper (whom I had a crazy crush on) were on the radio, the Sox were starting their run to the World Series, Crocodile Dundee, Platoon, Aliens, Pretty in Pink and Blue Velvet were at the theater, a rack of Stroh's was selling for about $2.59. Good times, man. Good times. The only one I know who wept uncontrollably after news of Chernobylwhitehouse.jpg spread was sportswriter Randy Whitehouse, who remarkably, was fully bearded at the age of 14. I mean, look at the eyes red with tears. Look at the bellow of anguish forming at the lips of the hirsute, junior high-aged Whitehouse.

Because I really have no point to all this — I was just waxing nostalgic for 1986 after hearing a Loverboy tune — here are the top ten hits from April of that year. While people were choking and dying in the Ukraine, we were getting down to Falco. It's sad. It's just very sad.

1. "Kiss," Prince & The Revolution

2. "Rock Me Amadeus," Falco

3. "Manic Monday," Bangles

4. "Addicted To Love," Robert Palmer

5. "West End Girls," Pet Shop Boys

6. "What You Need," INXS

7. "Harlem Shuffle," Rolling Stones

8. "Let's Go All The Way," Sly Fox

9. "R.O.C.K. In The USA," John Cougar Mellencamp

10. "Why Can't This Be Love," Van Halen



  1. Martha said,

    Mark, I think I recognize maybe 1 of those titles. I am not a rock music fan and by 1986 I had moved on to other genres. Primarily country at that point. I tried to find a list of country top 10 for that date, but wasn’t successful. Anyone have any suggestions?
    What was I doing in 1986? HMMMMMM, let me think.. My kids would have been I think 9 and 11. I actually can’t recall anything particularly memorable about that year. I think I led a rather boring life. By some peoples standards, I guess I still do, but since I’m content, I guess that’s what’s really important.

  2. Linda said,

    Good one, Martha. I think you’re right.
    I remember practically every minute of 1985 and ’86, since memorable things were going on for me, but the five years before are quite a blur. No country music for me though — it seems to me that for a few years there, if you didn’t hear it on kids’ TV, you didn’t hear it.

  3. Martha said,

    LOL Linda… been there, done that.. about the kids tv that is… btw, let me clarify.. I love a lot of the rock oldies, but anything much newer than the early to mid 70s I just can’t tolerate. To me, its more noise than anything else.

  4. A.O. said,

    Guess I’m not as old as I thought. I remember every one of those songs. Though, some of them are best left forgotten. Twenty years, wow, where the hell have I been for the past twenty years? Must be all that kids tv. It’s turned my mind into mush. I know almost every episode of Rugrats. Now, that’s pretty bad.

  5. K2 said,

    If the Soviets had acted quickly and administered iodine tablets to the kids, there would’ve been a huge reduction in the number of thyroid cancers among said kids. It was a disgraceful lack of response that doomed many children.

    Also, there is an award winning photograph that shows the exact same birth defect in ten kids — all of which had deformed limbs, caused by radiation exposure when they in the wombs of their mothers. I’ll try to find it and send it to you. It’s a very disturbing photo.

    Of course, Rock me Amadeus. By the way, when did Frankie say Relax?

  6. brenda said,

    What was I doing April 1986? I’d just married a nice guy named Tim, signed papers to re-enlist in the Army- & to go back thru basic training in 6 months, but that plan was averted because by May I found out I was pregnant with my second child- my first chid was 6 years old, in first grade. I was a student as San Bernardino Valley College and on Valentines day I’d quit a 4 month speed binge ……Tim helped me get over that.
    Tim worked at night at an allnight gas station, and I’d call in song requests to tell him I loved him. I liked to request Barbara Streisand songs, driving the dj crazy!

  7. Linda said,

    Frankie — 1985 i think?

  8. A.O. said,

    Is that Randy’s new “do”?

  9. K2 said,

    She blinded me with science?!?

  10. Robert said,

    1986….Getting married is about all I remember that year, making this my 20th year of wedded bliss, or a reasonable fascimile..

    For anyon asking about country music in 1986..here’s the scoop….Reba McIntype, George Strait were very big (Weekend In New England), and newcomers Vince Gill and Alan Jackson were starting to make a name for themselves…

    Garth Brooks was still a couple years from being “discovered”, working in honky tonk bars in Oklahoma, discouraged but not giving up…on a side note, Garth Brooks was never voted Male VOcalist of the year even though his records sold better than any other artist of the time…

  11. Martha said,

    Makes me wonder if the reason Garth was never voted vocalist of the year might have something to do with his inability to make up his mind whether he wanted to sing country or rock. There are at least a couple of his songs which play on country stations, but are anything but.

  12. Bobbie said,

    In 1986, I was a military dependent (Army) living in a place called Neu Ulm, Germany, which is in southern Bavaria. The kids were outside playing on a gorgeous day (lots of sun, few clouds, etc.) when all of a sudden, the blackest clouds that I have ever seen started pouring in-one minute they weren’t there and the next, they were everywhere. These clouds were darker than the black licorice I’m having for breakfast right now.
    For 3 days, we had to endure the coldest rain that I have ever felt before. This rain was colder than anything I have ever experienced before or since. I wondered how the rain could be so cold but not freeze, either on the way to the ground or when it hit the ground.
    On the 4th day, the sun came back out again, brighter than it had been the days before. There were still some clouds in the sky with a tinge of black to them, but not as deep as the previous 3 days. Of course, the kids were allowed back outside once more-after being cooped up in the house for 3 days enduring a bone chilling cold that goes right thru you and does not allow you to get warm, you’d want out in the sunshine too.
    Uncle Sam waited a few days before telling us that we should scrub our kids thoroughly from head to toe, not let them play in the dirt or buy anything food from the economy for a week or so. Of course, Uncle Sam was also quick to say that none of the radiation had supposedly reached us after the accident, but when you sit there and watch the clouds just suddenly appear like they did that day, or develope thyroid problems later in life or you can play connect the dots from head to toe on your body with the moles that suddenly started appearing after that day. Even my son, who was born in 1987, has had to deal with the mole problem over the years.

    Now for the lighter side of things-I remember all of those songs very well. AFN radio devoted a set amount of time to each genre of music during the course of the day, so after almost 6 years, I became well versed in all types of music. To this day, I still can not tolerate Latino/Mexican/salsa stuff and probably never will.

  13. Maverick said,

    1986 – Top Gun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Dead Kid said,

    Stand by Me

  15. Masturbation said,

    9 1/2 weeks

  16. Finger Eater said,

    The Hitcher

  17. Hot Deaf Woman said,

    Children of a Lesser God

  18. Bill Buckner said,

    No big deal about that year…

  19. Rob Lowe's Crank said,

    About Last Night

  20. Lea Thompsen's underwear said,

    Howard the Duck (42 Minutes in you can see her panties)

  21. Rob Lowe's Butt said,


  22. Anonymous said,


  23. Mainetarr said,

    In 1986, I was fresh out of high school. I was working full time and not yet into partying (late bloomer). I was trying to figure out the difference between Simple Minds and Tears For Fears. (SHout SHout Let It All Out) I totally recognize everything on that list, but I was just starting to get into country at the time. Randy Travis’s new album, Storms of Life had just come out and I was starting to get into Dwight Yokum. Ah yes, the 80’s. I had big hair and wore lots of denim.

  24. LaFlamme said,

    AmaDeus, AmaDEAUS! Amadeus, AmaDEUS! Oh oh oh, Amadeus.

  25. Linda said,

    That’s really a cool list, and K2, I’m loving your additions.
    In 1985 I was packing my house and kids to move to another country. One of the last things i sold was my stereo. I’d lie on the floor between the speakers and play mostly Jim Morrison music (oldies even then) really loud, a bit or a lot high, excited and scared.
    But only when the kids weren’t home. I was the perfect parent otherwise.
    Then in 1986 it was a new home, new job, new friends, new everything.

  26. LaFlamme said,

    This is the end. Bewwwwtiful friend…

  27. Anonymous said,

    But, you still listened to Jim, right?

  28. Mainetarr said,

    When you’re strange
    Faces come out of the rain
    When you’re strange
    No one remembers your name
    When you’re strange
    When you’re strange
    When you’re strange

  29. AO said,

    Notice the change to my moniker? I’m now the artist formally known as A.O.

  30. Mainetarr said,

    Not having periods anymore? LOL

  31. Linda said,

    A time like that gets under your skin. I still get a bit lightheaded and long to lie down on the floor when i hear the Doors.
    So what’s the buzz AO, or should I say TAFKAAO? Get tired of wearing out the period key, or are you just inspired by the ’80’s? Sometimes change is good.

  32. AO said,

    Nope. No more periods..period.

    Jim Morrison. Talk about “Light My Fire”. Damn.

  33. LaFlamme said,

    No more periods. Ha! Damn good, MT. Damn good.

  34. AO said,

    I’ve also heard, through the grapevine (classic song!) that, one of our bloggers has a birthday coming up on Friday.

  35. Mainetarr said,

    no kidding, I would have liked to have cured his Roadhouse Blues any day. As Nadine would say, he was hawt.

  36. Mainetarr said,

    Thanks MLaF…Is Treehugger having another birthday? Or is it Linda?

  37. AO said,

    I heard it was Bailey’s mom that was having a birthday.

  38. LaFlamme said,

    Damn. Wouldn’t it be cool if I could just drag a photo into the comment box and submit it.

  39. Mainetarr said,

    I heard she wasn’t celebrating this year, she was going to wait until 40 next year. I also heard she is a real bitch about birthdays. LOL Ever since her wiseguy friends told Margarhita’s it was her birthday last year, she usually goes into seclusion that day.

    Mark- I have tried to put photos up too, to no avail.

  40. LaFlamme said,

    Yeah, it’ll be good if there’s a quick and easy way to post pics when WordPress unleashes its non-beta version. We’ll see, I guess.

  41. AO said,

    Bailey’s Mom a bitch? Huh. I don’t believe it. I know a certain boy that wishes her the biggest of birthday wishes.

    And, I’ve also tried posting pictures. No luck. Bet Weasel could do it!

  42. Mainetarr said,

    Speaking of moms, how are T-man and the Meatball? Sounds like a sit com….

  43. AO said,

    They’re the best! Got new school pic’s of the T-Man today. He’s wearing his Jimi Hendrix sweatshirt in it. Long hair, Hendrix, need I say more?

  44. Mainetarr said,

    What do I have to do to get a wallet of the school pics? They both get pics?

  45. Mainetarr said,

    Did I gross you out yet, Mark?

  46. AO said,

    You don’t have to do anything. I’ll be sure to get you some. Have to order T-mans. But, I do have the Meatballs in.

  47. Mainetarr said,

    Yayyyyy, I can’t wait to see them.

  48. AO said,

    Such cuties. I’m a big fan.

  49. LaFlamme said,

    I can’t tell if my above photo looks like a door-to-door seller of religion or a frustrated economics major whose about to run amok in the classroom with a high powered rifle. Either way, it ain’t good.
    Whitehouse, on the other hand, just looks stoned.

  50. AO said,

    I think you look like a Scott Baio fan. Whitehouse looks…cooool!

  51. Mainetarr said,

    You look like one of those repressed horny Mormons who walk all over hell to recruit members into the cult.

  52. LaFlamme said,

    Yeah. Why, he’s almost delivering a Fonzie style “aaaaayyyy…”

  53. LaFlamme said,

    Ha! Yeah, I was thinking repressed, horny Mormon. I just couldn’t find the right terminology.

  54. Linda said,

    Whatever Mark was doing or thinking about in that pic, he doesn’t seem to be enjoying it. Is it the tie? Last time he wore a tie, maybe?

  55. AO said,

    He looks constipated. Just look at that expression on his face. I think he needed to fart.

  56. K2 said,

    Either that, or Mark was a card-carrying member of Hitler Youth.

    Randy, life must look rather strange when viewed through sallow-hued glasses. What happened to your rose-colored, Janis-Joplin-as-‘Pearl’ spectacles?

    And AO, smart move ditching the periods. Kinda like KFC and FedEx, but completely different.

    Lastly, I must admit that I have essentially swithced to Miller High Life bottles, since they’re half the price of my beloved Heineken. It was either go to a lesser flavor to save cash, or cut back on my drinking. My fate was determined in less than a microsecond.

  57. Linda said,

    But Randy looks like he just did. (Sorry Randy)

  58. K2 said,

    Linda, you know I only post as K2, right? Court order.

  59. LaFlamme said,

    Miller? Not Miller Lite but the champagn of beers? Man, I used to drink that back when we drank in a poorly constructed cabin in the woods behind the Waterville Armory. Miller Highlife and Century cigarettes. Memories, man.

  60. Linda said,

    K2, are you involved in that password thing? Because court orders were made to be broken.
    My comment about Randy was an answer to AO #55. My computer is constipated tonight too, no posts appear for 15 minutes then half a dozen all at once. So expect me to be like Karnak the Magnificent tonight.

  61. AO said,

    K2, Miller High Life? Gawd…say it ain’t so! And, just no periods in my AO. Damn! Too bad. Sigh!

    But, Janis Joplin’s rose colored glasses! “Pearl”…classic. That was my alarm clock when I was a wee lass.

  62. LaFlamme said,

    See, I haven’t seen that specific problem. The only glitch I’ve seen is the one where you have to hit submit twice to get the sucker through.

  63. AO said,

    I keep getting the “Slow Down Cowboy” thing. But, it’s really no big deal.

  64. Linda said,

    I think I fixed my bug. A nefarious object had installed itself.
    By the way if any of you remember that my husband was under doctors orders to stay on the couch & be waited on, he’s now better and is free to wait on me as usual. Yay! hope you are as lucky, AO.

  65. AO said,

    Not on your LIFE! Had to deal with a broken down Jeep today. Bummer. Then, had to rent a car. AFTER I rented the car I found out that my Jeep was fixed. Murphy’s Law. I cancelled the rental because, the Jeep was going to be ready by five. Then, it wasn’t. Got the car. Then…it was. Again, bummer. Sorry if I’ve confused any of you. I’ve just had a very crazy day.

    Linda, Glad to hear that your husband is doing better. Hope you get waited on, left and, right. You deserve it!

  66. Linda said,

    You deserve it too, AO. Sorry you had the car/Jeep hassle, sounds like a rat race.

  67. Bobbie said,

    It’s about time you got with the program, AO, and dropped the periods. I think that you were the only one using them anymore.

    Wish me luck-I get to deal with my mother-in-law for an 8 AM MRI in Pueblo for her spine. That means leaving Rocky Ford no later than 6:30 AM to get there on time. After we get back, I’m taking a nap!

  68. AO said,

    Eh, no biggie. More of a hassle than anything. But, it’s over. And, I have an extra car for tomorrow!

  69. AO said,

    Bobbie, My thoughts will be with you. Good luck!!

    As for the periods, hey, I was just trying to be different.

  70. Linda said,

    Good luck Bobbie. Hope her spine is OK.

  71. Linda said,

    I just accidentally clicked on the banner at the top of the page that says The Screaming Room. Got a little list to choose from including “translate page into English.” Made me laugh a bit — maybe I’ll try it, see what WordPress can make of our ramblings.

  72. AO said,

    Well, good luck with that Linda. Sun Urinal couldn’t make any sense of our ramblings so, they shut us down. Bastards.

  73. LaFlamme said,

    What? If I click on The Screaming Room, it just brings me back to the main blog.

  74. AO said,

    And, that’s a good place to be.

  75. Linda said,

    Right click. Your page, unaccountably, seems to already be in English. But i looked up some of the other WordPress blogs (clicked on Uncategorized) and got some hilarious translations of foreign language pages.
    Clearly I have too much time on my hands now that my husband is healthy again.

  76. Gil said,

    US planes attack Libya, “accidentally bombs French Embassy as well.
    President Ferdinand Marcos flees Philippines after ruling for 20 years, Imelda cries for lost shoes.
    Senate Judiciary Committee approves William H. Rehnquist as Chief Justice of US Supreme Court. Acid flashback causes him to sew gold stripes on robe.
    Super Bowl
    Chicago d. New England (46-10)
    World Series
    NY Mets d. Boston Red Sox (4-3)
    Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha – Pittsburgh rules
    US GDP (1998 dollars): $4,422.20 billion
    Federal spending: $990.34 billion
    Federal debt: $2120.6 billion
    Median Household Income
    (current dollars): $24,897
    Consumer Price Index: 109.6
    Unemployment: 7.0%
    The Oprah Winfrey Show hits national television. Steadman still undecided.
    Nintendo video games introduced in U.S.
    A dashingly handsome, young sailor spends the year in foreign countries trying to set new drinking and skirt-chasing records.

  77. Gil said,

    February 21 – The Dead Kennedys play their last concert at UC Davis in Davis, California.
    June 27 – Black Flag play their last concert, in Detroit, Michigan.
    A sad, sad year.
    But to make up for it, Dutch tells Gorby to pound sand and walks out of the Reykjavik summit. Clock begins ticking for USSR.

  78. Bobbie said,

    Thanks AO and Linda-it should be interesting tomorrow. Right now, we’re fighting with the oxygen company to deliver an extra tank for her.

  79. Martha said,

    About that rat race. I have a friend who used to have a bumper sticker that said.. “the rat race is over… the rats won.”

    Bobby, I hope everything goes well.
    No one has told me yet where to find the top 10 country hits for that time period.. there’s that period again…

    Wow, that median income is pretty scary.. I’m soooooooo far behind the times, I don’t make that much in a year, yet.

  80. K2 said,

    Come on, Gil, the Beatles and Western culture did more to erode communism than Reagan did, albeit he did sealed the deal, that senile, bad-acting husband of Nancy, that horoscope-reading, say-no-to-drugs saying mother of Patty, that ugly-Playboy-modeling, black-sheep daughter, sister to that cock-loving, bleeding-heart liberal son, Ron Jr.

    And yes. Miller High Life. Bottles. For the money, best beer around. But it’s goat piss compared to Heineken. At this point, my liver is so scarred, it can’t tell the difference.

    And now back to your regularly scheduled Dead Kennedys net cast:

    “Nazi punks! Nazi punks! Nazi punks! FUCK OFF!!!”


    “Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill the poor.”

  81. AO said,

    K2, I think that Heineken tastes like goat piss. Or, skunk piss. Take your choice. I even tried the new “Light” version. Ugh!! Nasty stuff!

  82. K2 said,

    Heineken Light is bad, no doubt. Especially since the orignal Heineken Light is a good-tasting Amstel Light. It’s all marketing bullshit.

    Got goat milk?

  83. K2 said,

    Wait! You mean regular Heineken. AO, you will be getting my cease-and-desist order by noon today, you blasphemous anti-Amsterdamonian.

  84. faxman said,

    Get your hands on all the information available on shoes here.

  85. blogfun said,

    This site is aimed at being a storehouse of information that gives you the feel, the sense, the inside story and everything else there is to know about Household Chores and its applications.

  86. Jake said,

    This is great, bookmarked, thanks!

  87. dani said,

    Biggest catastrophy in the world it touched France

  88. Anika parsons said,

    hi my name is anika i am doing a report on this situation and need more info about it

  89. LaFlamme said,

    Get thee to the new and improved Screaming Room at http://www.marklaflamme.com/blog

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