Saturday, August 27, 2005

The e-mail of the species

Some of the people who have e-mailed me -- or more specifically, who have ended up in my spam folder:

Lucy Hand -- the subject line was "Rolex Pimp," which, as Dave Barry might say, would make a great name for a rock band.
Clobber B. Hairless
Carouses G. Reinvented
Deluged U. Dug
Replacement Window Professionals
Complimentary Cruise
-- Tom's cousin, maybe?
Radoslav Mcgrath -- Hey, I think he's the co-host of Extra or something
Bread Nielsen
Bamboo Flooring Resources
Tattooed B. Pitied
Reroute F. Hankers

and my personal favorite, Diaper Blowout, which to someone in marketing, may indicate a big sale on diapers. But to a parent, it usually means "No more quiche for the kid."

And on a semi-related note, was that a flatulence joke I saw in For Better or For Worse this morning?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Everything's Archie...

This should come as no great shock, but I always identified with Jughead more than Archie.

Not because I didn't like girls (I did).

And not because I loved to eat (I don't, particularly).

Nor did I wear the funky crown (They haven't been on sale for about 50 years).

But Jug was the oddball outsider friend. And that's me in a nutshell. Plus, if I were ever in the position of having to choose between a gorgeous-but-impossibly-high-maintenance rich brunette and a beautiful-and-incredibly thoughtful blonde, it would be a quick decision.

Yep, I'd go for Betty. It breaks tradition of my preference for brunettes (especially ones with glasses), but how can you not like Betty?

Veronica seemed so much better suited for Reggie. Reggie was a schmuck of the highest caliber, but he was always more concerned with appearances and material things.

Plus, he had a weird laugh.

Yok! Yok! Who laughs like that?

My brother and I inherited a giant stack of circa-1970s Archie books, which have sadly gone the way of Boba Fett into the Sarlaac pit. I've gone through what little Archie stuff I had, but I couldn't find evidence of the "Yok! Yok!" that my brother and I had made fun of so much.

But at a random stop I made yesterday to a library book store, I scored almost 20 different Archie books, and in one of the last ones in the stack, I found it. Proof that I wasn't hallucinating it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Only one will survive...

The battle royale.

Having been about 10 when the first Wrestlemania came out, the idea of a mass battle was firmly engrained in my little brain.

Add to that a healthy appetite for comic books, and you can imagine how much time my friends and I would spend coming up with ideas of how these battles might turn out.

The Justice League of America vs. The Avengers.

Freddy vs. Jason.

Battle of the Network Stars

After all these years, it's still hard not to think this way. So when I was up with my son at the crack of dawn so he could watch Playhouse Disney, my tired brain came up with

The Wiggles vs. The Doodlebops!

He wakes up at 5:30. Let's not expect too much from me, OK? To be honest, as kid shows go, they're not bad. It's just after the 50,000th viewing, you get a little punchy. And before we get started, kids, let's remember that neither one of these teams really would fight. Fighting is bad.

Even if it's entertaining.

The Wiggles have the early advantage, as there are four of them compared with the three Doodlebops. If you wanted to even the playing field, I guess the Doodlebops could drag in Bus Driver Bob, but I think I'll stick with the base group.

Besides, if they get Bus Driver Bob, the Wiggles could bring in Dorothy the Dinosaur or Captain Feathersword (the friendly pirate).

The rosters

The Wiggles:

Greg, Murray, Anthony and Jeff

The Doodlebops:

Deedee, Rooney and Moe.

Now that I think of it, the 4-to-3 odds don't really come in to play because Jeff, of course, would be asleep during the whole battle.

Things get off to a rousing start when Murray, wielding his red guitar, dispatches Rooney, who folds like a cheap tent. This is a purely strategic move; Rooney is the team's inventor. By taking him out, that reduces the weapons the Doodlebops will have.

Alas, Murray forgets that Deedee Doodle, like Ben Folds, is a fan of the keytar. There's a dischordant noise and Murray is down, the impression of keytar keys on his forehead and tiny Dorothy the Dinosaurs dancing around his head.

Deedee is clearly on a roll when she puts sleeping powder in a sandwich and offers it to Anthony, who promptly falls asleep after eating it.

But Greg knows Moe's weakness and decides to exploit it. Just in Moe's line of sight is a rope. He tries to resist, but he knows that he can't.

Deedee sees it a little too late.

"Don't pull the rope!"

Moe, true to form, pulls the rope, dislodging a cinder block that bonks him on the head.

That just leaves Deedee and Greg. Only one will survive.

Deedee rushes Greg.

At the last minute, Greg grabs his magic wand from his back pocket and waves it at the top hat conspicuously placed on the floor.

Before Deedee can reach Greg, a rabbit pops out of the hat and grabs her. The rabbit pulls her back into the hat with him, her screams dwindling as she disappears.

The commotion over, Greg sits at the table and sips a cup of Rosy Tea.

It tastes good.

Like victory.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Go Modesto, go Modesto ...

I read in the paper this morning that the Modesto area is the "car theft capital of the United States."

There are many factors involved here, but the one that caught my eye was this one:

"If people would stop leaving their keys in their cars, we would not be No. 1," said officer Rick Applegate, Police Department spokesman. "We'd drop off the radar. But, still, every day vehicles are being stolen (because the owners) left the car running or unattended."

As soon as I read that, this line from the 1987 Dan Aykroyd-Tom Hanks comedy "Dragnet" immediately came to mind.

Joe Friday (Aykroyd): With the exception of you and canned cling peaches, I'd find it hard to find anyone or anything that doesn't know you should never leave your car keys in the ignition.

To be fair, the next line is:

Pep Streebek (Hanks): It's called a mistake, Friday. But I guess you never make any of those, do you?

But still.

I've lived in places where you could leave your door unlocked and not worry about it, but I've never thought to leave my keys in the car.

And if I did, having my stereo stolen from my car (parked in front of my house) because I left the window open would've cured me.

Yeah, it's a drag that you can't leave your car window open on a hot day, but is it really surprising that these things happen anymore?

Complain about the decline of society all you want (I'm likely to agree), but unless leaving your keys in your car and having it stolen is your form of protest against criminals, you might want to just hold on to those keys.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Great moments in human achievement

Prepare to be jealous.

These days, people often say that kids play too many video games and they’ll never accomplish anything.

I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I do know that playing video games led me to one of my most prized accomplishments.

And no, it wasn’t attention from the opposite sex.

Gaze upon my works, ye mighty, and despair: I earned the coveted (I can never find it on eBay) Seaquest Sub Club patch.

Unlike other Sub Clubs that require you to buy sandwiches (or buy black market stamps on the Internet) before you get a payoff, the Seaquest Sub Club had only one requirement.

Attain a score of 50,000 points or more playing Seaquest on your Atari 2600 and take a picture of it. Send in the pic, and “you'll be eligible to join this prestigious organization.”

Here’s the

This is from April 1983. Stop laughing at my glasses. There weren’t many options for frames back then.

Note that not only had I scored the requisite 50,000 points, but I had reached just over 112,000. Not bad for an 8-year-old.

After weeks of waiting, I got my patch in the mail, which I dutifully had affixed to my favorite blue and gray jacket. I’d like to think that I wore the jacket to school and downplayed my achievement.

“Oh, this old thing? I got it when I was a kid.”

But I know I was probably more like: “Check it out! Sub Club! I rule!”

Eventually, I outgrew the jacket and handed it down to my cousins. And it wasn’t until a few years ago I even thought of it.

“Fifty bucks for a patch? No way, eBay!”

I mean, I’m good at justifying entirely impractical, nay, even stupid purchases. I paid five bucks for an old multicolored light you used to shine on aluminum Christmas tree even though

A. It was nowhere near Christmas


B. I didn’t own an aluminum Christmas tree.

But I couldn’t justify dropping 50 clams on a patch that I wouldn’t even wear in public (OK, I probably would).

As a lark, I asked my aunt if she still had the jacket I handed down to her sons. Luckily for me, she still did. That meant 50 bucks for important stuff. Like groceries. Or a Darth Vader Voice-Changing Helmet.

I also reclaimed some other cool stuff, like the Fisher-Price Movie Player and Talk-To-Me Books. Second childhood, here I come.

Anyway, here’s the jacket and patch, modeled by the ever-dashing Brody.

No, Brody, arms out. Try again.

There we go. Good job!

Now I want to get a cool Greatest American Hero T-shirt like I used to have. Talk about sweet…