Monday, December 31, 2007

So long, 2007...

What a year.

Got a new job, got an addition to the family, served on a jury for the first time, and I got a lot closer to figuring out why I am the way I am.

Yep, 2007 wasn't dull. Here's to a pleasantly eventful 2008.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The season of giving...

Because it's stuck in my head, allow me to share it with you. Cheers!

This brings up a few interesting questions:

Is a hobo-humpin' slobo babe considered "hobosexual"?

OMG, did she lick that guy's armpit?

What the hell is slobo?

Did the video need at least 166 separate cuts?

Why don't more videos have cute girls and trampolines?

Is trampoline a synonym for a short girl who looks kinda slutty?

Why are you still reading this?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Turkey Television actually existed

My friend Karyne and I talk about You Can't Do That on Television on a fairly regular basis.

Yes, to the point that our conversations begin with:

"Hey, Alanis..."

"Yes, Alasdair?"

But I managed to find a neat clip while poking around on YouTube as I often do. It's from the less-remembered Turkey Television, which often followed YCDTOTV.

And because now you're thinking of it, here's a clip from YCDTOTV:

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Gift ideas

You know, now that the holidays are almost here, you might be looking for the perfect gift to give. Now say you can't quite afford Amazon's new e-book reader, the Kindle:

Not to fear. You can, instead, buy some sweet Siftin' merch from my store. And even if you don't have a need for an undergarment with my face on it, there are also neat-o T-shirts to have, too.

What would *you* say at a party?

You know you want one.

Monday, December 03, 2007

That sounds familiar...

A new feature here at Siftin' is That Sounds Familiar, in which I pair up two songs that sound a little similar, whether it's the whole song, or just pieces.

First up, two songs that you probably have on a mix CD: "Top of the World" by the Carpenters, and "Pass the Dutchie" by Musical Youth.

In this case, it's the beginning of the verse of both songs. There's not much similar in the rest of the song, but I hear this in my head:

"Such a feeling coming over me (How does it feel when you got no food?)"

And that's how this works. Some will be shockingly similar, and some, I suspect, will only sound the same to me.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Rhythm is gonna get you whether you like it or not

I was watching "We Are the 80s" on VH1 Classic this morning while my son dutifully played with his Thomas the Tank Engine trains (unleaded, thank you).

A video by Miami Sound Machine came on:

Brody stopped what he was doing, walked over to me, and asked in all seriousness, "Dad, what is that horrible noise?"

So yeah, I guess I don't have to worry about getting him Gloria Estefan's greatest hits for Christmas.

And that's a gift for both of us.

But since this is a season of giving, here's the video for Miami Sound Machine's "Bad Boy," featuring the understudies for the cast of "Cats," and introduced by Ted Danson and Howie Mandel. Yeah, don't blame me if you get nightmares.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

They've got what I'm looking for

Old Bay Area TV stations came up in conversation yesterday, and it got me thinking of the promos TV 20 used to do that featured various pets from people in the area.

As luck would have it, I found the best one on YouTube:

Sunday, November 25, 2007

From the "Who gives a crap" department...

At least now I have proof that I wasn't hallucinating it. Back in the early to mid-80s, it seemed like everyone wanted to capitalize on NBC's TV Bloopers and Practical Jokes, so there were specials every now and then, and of course, the shameless imitation.

On ABC, I think it was (I could look to be sure, but I'm lazy), to compete with Dick Clark and Ed McMahon, they paired Steve Lawrence (8-year-old me: Who?) with Don Rickles (8-year-old me: Oh, that CPO Sharkey guy who calls everyone a hockey puck). And if that team-up wasn't magical enough, there was the name: Foul-Ups, Bleeps and Blunders.

Note the way it flows off the tongue.

If memory serves, the two shows even competed in the same time slot for a while. I'd check out the ersatz Dick and Ed during the terminally long practical joke bits, which were rarely if ever funny.

I don't know if the show even lasted a whole season, but it is for some reason locked indelibly in my memory.

And now (at least temporarily), I can inflict it upon you, loyal reader. The clip is a little bit of Star Trek blooperness, brought by the Shat himself.

And while on the subject of inflicting, here's a clip I found from the Steve Allen-hosted Life's Most Embarrassing Moments, which I think was a special, also on ABC. And wouldn't you know it, it's the one clip that I will never be able to get rid of.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Nanowrimo progress

Well, it seems unlikely that I'll make the goal by the end of the month, but for the first time, I'm writing regularly on the story--every day on BART. Even better, I'm not tired of the story yet. That's probably because I don't know how it ends.

But I'm not going to worry about how many words I need to write a day; I'm just focusing on the fact that I'm actually writing.

The story, in case you want to know if you should start saving money to buy it, is about two brothers, neither of whom are particularly happy. One brother is stuck in the past; everything reminds him of something from back in the day. The other brother is stuck in the present; a present he thought would be different, and worse, a future looming that he doesn't want any part of.

They end up going on a road trip to various points around (and just outside) the state.

Here's a brief sample from one of the many flashbacks our narrator has:

When we were in junior high school, we went camping with our parents a few times every summer. They belonged to one of those membership campground things, so it was pretty easy to find somewhere to go, even in the summer when everyone wanted to go camping.

Harbor and I had grown up sharing a tent, and we constantly pestered our parents to kick in for an extra tent so we could sleep separately. This was because Harbor, in addition to being a sleep-farter, was such a heavy breather when he slept that we often woke up first thing in the morning to a miniature rainstorm inside the tent. The condensation built up all night, and in the morning, it just started falling. Not as steady as rain, but intermittent enough to keep you from falling back asleep.

Plus, I don’t know what he did, but his shoes smelled like rotten ass. His feet alone were no bed of roses, either, but his shoes were so foul that we couldn't leave them anywhere near our tents, lest our noses be assaulted by his foot funk.

On the upside, it kept animals away.

Not so with the mosquitoes. That was the other weird thing; despite sharing a tent, Harbor woke up practically poxy with mosquito bites. I would have maybe two or three. My parents joked that I must have been too bitter for the mosquitoes to like. Harbor thought this was hysterically funny despite the fact that he spent the better part of his day--when not forging new trails through the wilderness or finding the perfect rock to skip across the water--scratching like a flea-ridden dog.

So if you end up seeing my book someday, now you can say your read part of it before it was a best-seller and adapted for the big screen. (Ha.)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Updates, updates, updates...

Me and the Halloweenies.Okay, so Halloween went off without a hitch. Brody dressed up as Bob the Builder and pillaged the neighborhood, securing regulation-size candy (in this case, a bag of peanut M&Ms) for two years in a row.

Even better, Brody still doesn't like candy, so more for me, Jen, and my co-workers. He did pretty good about not going in people's houses, and he got to go trick-or-treating with his cousin, so he was happy about that.

And speaking of candy, I may as well update the whole "Jeff is too lazy to buy new clothes, so he's trying to lose weight" thing. Well, as of this morning, I've lost 15 pounds without the aid of amputation, laxatives or cholera.

The irony is that I'm going to have to buy clothes anyway because my pants are too big in the waist, even with my belt. Oh well. It's been pretty easy to stick with my modified diet because it's all just a matter of math. If I eat something "bad," I make up for it later without just skipping the meal entirely.

I'm sure I could still be more selective in what provides the calories I consume, but I have to take it a little at a time.

The next entrant into the great Bad Movies from A to Z sweepstakes should be arriving courtesy of Netflix any day now. I won't say anything about it except that there's a really good chance you haven't seen it. Or if you have, you'd probably deny it.

And one more thing consuming what little spare time I've got is Guitar Hero III, which was a birthday present from my awesome wife (it's not till tomorrow, but she wanted me to have a chance to play it over the weekend). I LOVE this game. And I also love that I will have a chance to kick my friend Karyne's ass at it next time we have a video game night.

More than just a 50,000-word fart joke!Instead of disappearing behind sunglasses, earphones and a thick book on the morning BART commute, I am embarking on that little exercise in futility I like to call NaNoWriMo. During National Novel Writing Month, I am endeavoring to complete a 50,000-word novel.

I know, you're probably thinking, "Lots of luck, skinhead; didn't you fail at this for the last two years running?"

True. And there's a good chance I won't make it again this year, especially now that I've got a baby (and Guitar Hero III) around. But as long as I get a seat on the train, I've got a good 30 to 45 minutes of writing each way. I'm up to about 3,800 words so far, and I kinda like the story, so even if I don't finish it by the end of the month, I would like to see how it all turns out.

God knows blog updates aren't consuming much of my time these days...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It's almost time...

Getting ready to take out the younguns for trick-or-treating. I'm curious to see how Brody does this year. Last year, he got a regulation-size candy bar, and I'm wondering if he'll make it two years in a row. We'll see...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Mark your calendars, kids

The always-cool Mark Evanier has brought it to my attention that not only does the new year bring another round of resolutions to break, but it also brings a chance to see the sadly not-on-DVD "Skidoo," an Otto Preminger movie with Jackie Gleason, Carol Channing, Frankie Avalon, Mickey Rooney, Groucho Marx and a host of others.

A genuinely odd movie from the 1960s, you really have to see it to believe it. My favorite part (and honestly, the only part I don't fast-forward through) is where Harry Nilsson sings the end credits, down to key grip, costumer, and the whole bit.

Do give it a shot, won't you?

You know you want to watch it...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Bad Movies From A to Z: Night Train to Terror

This is pretty much as good as it gets.
The Bad Movies series returns with a vengeance as we take a leak look at the 1985 classic, Night Train to Terror. God help us all.

The movie in a nutshell: God and Satan are on a train, claiming souls of people involved in three different stories.

The story: A poor helpless schmuck endures one of the crappiest movies he's ever seen. Oh wait. That's my story.

The movie consists of three hopelessly truncated movies, edited apparently at random, all wrapped by a cheesy God vs. Satan conversation that appears to take place in Ten Forward on the Enterprise.

Now keep in mind, this is ostensibly a horror movie, so after the title flashes and we see the titular train and hear a scream in the background, we are exposed to the first of many horrors:

How shall I compare thee to Summer's Eve?
a butt-rock band.

Holy crap on a plate, this is so 1985.

Colonel Sanders, meet Count Chocula.Now, as I said, God and Satan are sitting across from each other on the train. As it is nighttime, there are stars visible out the window. But for some reason, most of them are stationary, save for a few that streak by, making it look like they're traveling at warp speed.

The view out the window changes, and our first story begins. A bride and groom are speeding for some reason, and they get in an accident.

Harry Billings, the husband, ends up in a sanitarium. His wife is apparently dead. In short order, he's in for electroshock therapy. In another room, there's a naked lady strapped to a table. No explanation given. Just an excuse to show boobies.

Meanwhile, Richard Moll is some creepy guy named Otto (I think).
Richard Moll in his first of two roles in this movie: Otto the creepy tall guy.
Billings is drugged and sent to a bar, where he pretends to drink shots and flirts with the blonde bartender. Seconds later, she's the next naked lady on a table.

As we find out, the sanitarium in which Billings is incarcerated is operating some kind of body parts ring. They abduct pretty women and strip them for parts.

There's other stuff going on, but this is edited together to shoddily that it's hard to figure out what the hell is happening, especially if you're looking down every few seconds to jot down notes. Basically all you need to know: lots of blood and gore, lots of boobage, and one beheading of a guy who will later be on Night Court.

Then we're back to God and Satan, arguing over who gets the souls involved in the story. I'm getting ready to take notes on the next story to unfold, but before that starts, it's the cheesy band again. Why they are aboard this train (which, Satan notes, will crash in an hour), I have no idea. Maybe because they only have one song that they keep playing over and over.

Hi, my name is Skeeve.Our next story involves a pretty brunette named Gretta Connors, who supplements her budding music career by selling popcorn from a tray at the carnival. Note that she doesn't work at a popcorn booth--she just has a tray of nine or so boxes of popcorn. Some creepy guy walk up to her and says "Little girl, where have you been all my life?"

Instead of racking him in the nards, she just tells him the price of the popcorn. He stuffs money down the front of her top (CLASSY), and he ends up (we are told) leading her into a life of porn and degradation. We learn this through narration rather than actual storytelling, which is how we learn about anything that might move the plot along in the slightest.

How did she get the turkey up there with the bag of oranges?Meanwhile, college graduate and medical student (uh-huh) Glenn Marshall has dropped by his old frat house to grab a beer. The fact they're showing a porno flick is just a coincidence, I'm sure. He probably also reads Playboy for the articles.

Glenn falls in love with Gretta much the way all young people fall in love: he sees her being raped by what appears to be a fur trapper in the porno he and his buddies are watching. Call me a softy, but damn if that doesn't bring a tear to my eye.

Somehow he tracks her down, and in the span of three seconds, they hook up. I think, anyway. I swear to God, I just blinked. Gotta love pacing in truncated movies. Now while they could have used some of the brief running time to add some story elements, they instead fill time with establishing shots of Glenn and Gretta at the carnival, riding various attractions.

Now this pisses off her sugar daddy, George Youngmeyer, the lech who got her into the porn biz. He decides that Glenn needs to be taken out. Any other unsavory type would just shoot him outright or have someone do it for him, but instead, he uses a ridiculously byzantine method that isn't even guaranteed to kill him.

That's right; he brings in Death Club. You'd think rule one of Death Club would be to not talk about Death Club, but when you need to bump a guy off without looking suspicious, I guess you gotta go with what you've got.

The members of the Death Club have faced death and beaten it, so their thrill is to keep tempting death. They do this by participating in variations of Russian roulette.

Turd on a wire.The first one we see involves the dreaded beast, the Mongolian buttworm death beetle (complete with visible wire) that will sting and kill someone at random. Ah, but to give everyone a sporting chance, they leave a window open. The beetle, which resembles a Play-Doh turd with wings, takes flight.

Who will it be?

No one in the room. Instead, it goes outside and stings some random guy who is boning some equally random chick. His face (or an unreasonable papier mache facsimile thereof) swells, and his eye explodes, sending a gout of blood all over his girlfriend's face.


Let's see what's going on back inside the--oh, what the hell? Oh boy.

The next "death game" involves a "computer" that will randomly electrocute one of the players. This whole time, Gretta is dressed like a dude, and for no apparent reason. Even stranger, it appears that Glenn wants nothing to do with her. This will change in about five minutes with no explanation.

I'll be your freakazoid; come on and wind me up.The computer, which reminds me of a cross of H.E.R.B.I.E., Simon, and a pocketful of dumb, whirs as everyone prepares for their possible impending death. Who gets it?

The one black guy. As his headband begins to smolder, he says, "Mr. Marshall, excuse me while I smoke."


Then he is electrocuted to the point that he appears to melt. That's gotta hurt.

Gretta, now looking all girly again, has had enough from Youngmeyer; after telling him off, she says that she and Glenn are to get married the next day. Ookaaaayy....

Alas, a group of bikers attacks them at night while they sleep. Glenn kung-fus as many as he can (putting that med school training to work, right?), but they throw a net over him (!), and both Glenn and Gretta are bound and delivered to Youngmeyer and the Death Club.

Now by this point, you really wonder why Youngmeyer bothers with this elaborate charade. His goons bring Glenn and Gretta at gunpoint. If he has goons with guns, why not just, you know, cap his ass?

In any event, in this room, there's a wrecking ball on a rope, which will swing pendulum-style near a saw blade. Gradually, the rope bearing the ball will be cut. Everyone gets in sleeping bags below it, waiting to see who gets the big squish.

Glenn and Gretta, of course, are not doing this by choice. Is this going to be the thing that gets Glenn out of the way? No. The ball lands on some lady's face. I could make a joke here, but that would be more clever than this movie by at least half. Check it out:

At least we get to see the happy couple finally facing off against Youngmeyer for the last time, right?


We cut back to God and Satan, and the train conductor is asked to finish the story. Greta and Glenn live happily ever after, we are told.


What the crap? They just ended the story right there, and then--oh, sweet raisin danish. It's the band, singing the same frickin song. Again.

You know, not to be overly douchey or anything, but maybe if they'd dispensed with the shite music, they could've included some actual story that might have, you know, made any of this slightly more coherent.

When you're a Jet, you're a Jet all the way.No, instead, we must endure white people dancing so soullessly that it makes Molly Ringwald's dancing in The Breakfast Club look like freak dancing by comparison. You know, the last time I saw a white guy breakdancing was at a party I went to after fifth-grade graduation. They busted out the cardboard; I begged off, citing a war injury.

Come to think of it, that was 1985. Go figure.

Thankfully, this train wreck (literally) is almost at an end. Just one more story to go: The case of Claire Hansen. We are told she is about to begin a living nightmare that, from the looks of it, apparently involves a barefoot orchestra playing for a bunch of Nazis. Some commander comes in and says that their quota hasn't been met, so he machine-guns the orchestra. Claire wakes up with a start, as does her husband, Charles (also played by Richard Moll, who is billed in this as Charles Moll).

The Nazi commander from Claire's dream is not only alive and well in the present, but he has not aged at all. Some old guy is trying to hunt him down, so he asks for help from Cameron Mitchell, who plays a cop, and, oh my God, this is horrible. The old guy dies at the hands of some demonic creature that may or not be the guy he's looking for--I kinda stopped taking notes by this point. Mr. Olivier, the evil creepy guy, seems to be an immortal who has been an evil bastard for hundreds of years.

Aw, crap, I'm in this movie again?Charles Hansen is some philosopher who has written a book called "God is Dead." Cameron Mitchell (his character wasn't identified as far as I could tell) eventually realizes how evil and creepy the guy is, and a bunch of stuff happens, including some crap claymation in which Hansen is crucified on a clay cross, and it ends with Olivier walking away unscathed.

It's the Great Space Coaster...Now, it's almost time. We see the night train zooming along the track--in daylight--as it hurtles toward its date with destiny. There's a crap explosion with what appears to be stock footage from something. The butt-rock band dies, thankfully, but God and Satan are untouched in their car. They divvy up the souls of those people seen in the movies, and the train rolls along a track to the stars.

The End.

To be fair, this movie appears to be made of three movies chopped down to about 20-25 minutes each. While it's damn near impossible to follow what's going on because they're so drastically edited, I'd be willing to watch these individually in their full-length incarnations; it's possible that they'd make more sense. They'd still not be great movies, but they could be entertaining.

As it is, it feels like I'm watching overlong, hastily cobbled together movie trailers, put together by people who never saw the movies. To their credit, they managed to keep a lot of blood and nudity; in the pre-Internet days when this would have been found on the shelves at the local mom-and-pop video stores, a horrible movie could be redeemed by buckets of blood and flashes of skin. To preteen horror buffs too young to buy Playboy, it was one of the only places you could see nudity--or as we called it, nudititty.

However, in this era, when you can see boobs at the click of a mouse, it's just meh.

I got this movie as part of the Drive-In Movie Classics 50-DVD pack I bought a while back, and it says on the package that this stars Keenan Wynn. I don't know exactly what they were smoking, but I didn't see him in here at all. The only person who looked remotely like Wynn was God, and according to the credits, he was played by "Himself." Satan, by the way, was played by Lu Sifer.

Pause for laughs.

/crickets chirping

Dude looks like a lady.Another part of the problem with this movie was the muddiness of the print, but you know, when you figure I paid maybe 50 cents for each movie, I really can't complain too much.

Should you end up watching this somehow, it would probably seem better if accompanied by a bottle of Night Train.


Probably not.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

This issue: Man boobs no more!

I know what you're thinking. More me would mean more wonderfulness to love, right?

Alas, in actuality, it just means man boobs and a bunch of shirts that don't fit me anymore. Which is a stone-cold drag, because I've got a lot of shirts that I'd love to wear.

Plus I don't really like shopping for clothes very much. But still, where else are you going to find a shirt that says, in Cooper Black, mind you, "Don't mess with my Stumpy"? Exactly.

And given that my daughter is growing by leaps and bounds every day, it's not going to be too much longer before I have to chase after her and her brother.

So now I'm trying to watch what I eat. Not just watching it go from my hand into my mouth, either. This sucks, because by watching my caloric intake, I have to avoid high-calorie foods (unless those 2 Oreo Cakesters are the only thing I eat all day) and I have to use math.

I'm even doing a teeny-tiny bit of exercise. Yeah, I could join a gym, but if I wanted to spend money on something I wouldn't use in a million years, I'd buy "Stop Or My Mom Will Shoot" on DVD. So to start slowly, my friend and I are walking during our lunch break, which, given my normal propensity for activity, is almost like participating in a dodecathlon.

On stilts.

In addition to getting a whole wardrobe out of storage, I guess it'll be nice to be a little healthier, too. Assuming I don't get struck by lightning. We'll see how far I get with this.

But I am learning things. Much to my amazement, Quaker Rice Snacks are actually quite tasty. I'd always imagined they tasted like Styrofoam ass (not that I'm a connoisseur of that particular dish myself, but you know what I mean), but I was wrong. They're actually good. Not as good as say, Oreo Cakesters or a Three Musketeers bar, or a pint of Ben and Jerry's S'mores ice cream, or --

Crap. Now I'm hungry again.

Assuming I don't totally blow off this diet after it pisses me off and I eat packet after packet of cinnamon roll icing, I'll post my progress. If I fall off the wagon, you can expect a few YouTube clips and no mention of a diet ever again.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Commuter's lament

It's not every day you get the chance to leave work early because you got all your stuff done.

It's also not very often that BART experiences electrical problems that force people to deboard the train and wait for a half-hour or so.

So what do you suppose the odds are of both of those things happening on the same day to the same guy?

Pretty damn good, it turns out.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

So what's on TV, yo? Part III

Hoping this isn't in HD...

I screwed up by not highlighting it before I took the picture, but look up at channel 266. Looks like joint programming from HGTV and CBS.

Seriously, there's got to be a better way to abbreviate these shows.

Friday, August 24, 2007

She gets it from her mom.

Ramona: Hey...fongool!
This is the first posed picture of Ramona with me, and wouldn't you know it, she's flipping the bird. She's half South Jersey Italian, so I'm not surprised by her lack of inhibition when it comes to speaking her mind.

This should be interesting when she starts talking...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Obligatory cute 4-year-old story

Yesterday when I picked up my 4-year-old from daycare, he looked toward the street.

"Eight sides," he said.

"What has eight sides?" I asked.

"The stop sign," he replied in a tone that suggested I wasn't keeping up with the conversation.

"That's right. Do you remember what shape has eight sides?"

He was quiet for a moment as he tried to remember. Then his eyes brightened as he finally remembered.

"A octopus!"

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Straight out of the box

As we all know, presweetened breakfast cereal is one of the four food groups. Getting up at the crack of dawn on Saturday mornings wouldn't have been as fulfilling (or as possible) without it. To this day, I still prefer my cereal straight out of the box, dry, the way God intended.

In lieu of sharing boxes of sugary cereal with all of you, here is an assortment of cereal commercials.

Count Chocula

Count Chocula just plain rules. Aside from a slightly different texture, this is essentially Cocoa Puffs with marshmallow bits (or marbits, as General Mills likes to call them). That different texture makes a big difference, though. Cocoa Puffs are crunchier on the outside. Count Chocula is the most readily available of the Monster Cereals, often on the shelves even outside of Halloween.

When I see Frankenberry or BooBerry on the shelves, my first impulse is always to buy it, but then I remember that I don't actually like eating them, so I leave them alone. I don't remember getting the much lamented Fruit Brute, but I know I got Fruity Yummy Mummy (what I'm assuming was an attempt to make another go at a fruity Monster Cereal), and my brother and I thought it tasted like a pile of ass.

Croonchy Stars

I could watch the Swedish Chef all day. Before Emeril, before Giada "I am apparently unaware that the camera is constantly aimed at my cleavage" de Laurentiis, hell, even before Martin Yan, I loved watching the Swedish Chef on The Muppet Show. So when they came out with a cereal supposedly concocted by the Swedish Chef, even though I hadn't watched the show in years, I felt obligated to try it out. It was pretty good--not too sweet.

And here's one of my favorite bits, in which the Swedish Chef makes Brussels sprouts:


I'd be willing to bet that they picked C-3PO for a Star Wars cereal just because his name already ended in O. Presumably, they could have come out with Landos, complete with free 40-ounce Colt .45 in each box. Or Greedos, or--well, I guess 3PO was the best-known character whose name ended in O. Another not-too-sweet cereal, great for out-of-the-box snacking.

Post Super Heroes Create-A-Villain Contest

I almost entered this when I was a kid. Alas, the paints on the back of the box, to put it delicately, sucked. I couldn't get the villain to look the way I wanted, so the box ended up in the trash instead of in the mail.

The commercial was a bit jarring the first time I saw it, because while they used the voices from the Superfriends show, they looked a bit off-model. In fact, this was the first time I saw Wonder Woman's then-new double-W chest emblem. It would be a while before the show caught up with the new look, and by then, they got a new voice for Wonder Woman, so this was the only time I know of that the original voice artist, Shannon Farnon, voiced Wonder Woman with the double-W emblem.

And I'm sure there's someone out there who gives a crap about that. Somewhere...

Cinnamon Nut Cheerios

I had to include this, because I have no recollection of seeing this cereal, and I was inspecting the cereal aisle every time we went to the grocery store (okay, I still do that). I wouldn't have gotten it because I don't like nuts, but I'd think I at least would've remembered it.

Donkey Kong

For a few years there, video game characters were everywhere: cartoons, cereal aisles, pencil toppers, folders, enemas, you name it. Oh, and the arcades, too. I first saw this while on vacation visiting family, and I was mildly disappointed that it tasted pretty much like Cap'n Crunch. I liked Cap'n Crunch, but I thought this would've been a bit different. Donkey Kong Jr. was at least a fruity cereal that wasn't exactly like Trix or Froot Loops.


Speaking of video game cereal, here's another one. This was a favorite jingle on the playground, if only for the fact that by swapping one letter (a "t" in place of a "b" -- you guess where), it was instant hilarity. The cereal was sorta like Kix with marshmallows. Meh.


Cheerios ended up having more sugar in it than the presweetened cereals because you had to dump a pound of sugar on it before it tasted even close to good. But I liked this ad campaign with the yodeling stick figure guy. Good times.

Corn Pops

I didn't include this because it features a young Kirk Cameron--who looks like he's enjoying this a bit too much--but because my brother and I always thought the exploding Pops sequence would have been better used in a commercial for something like Ex-Lax.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Isn't she lovely?

You know, I'm not always the merriest ray of sunshine in the rainbow, but right now, I'm pretty happy. Why is this, you might be asking. New TV commercial compilations? Finally won the Super Friends birthday party set on eBay?


Digging up memories and videos from the past is a tough job, and everyone here in the Siftin' Labs does a bangup job. But I'm happy because the ol' lab just got a new assistant.

Her name is Ramona (yes, after the Beverly Cleary character), and she is perfectly adorable. She was born yesterday, and already everyone is in love with her. She gets that from her mom, I think.

Once everyone is home and we settle into a routine (that involves little to no sleep for Jen and I), I can start thinking about more frequent updates to the old blog.

Famous people Ramona shares a birthday with: Lucille Ball, Robert Mitchum, M. Night Shyamalan, Soleil Moon Frye, and Elliott Smith, among others. While out to lunch with my family yesterday, I heard a cover of Smith's "Between the Bars" in the restaurant, which was just a bit unusual and cool, too, as I'm a big Elliott Smith fan.
Hey, at least I got the hair color right...
Right now, I'm just a big, giant spaz, all excited about dealing with all the stuff that having a daughter means. When we found out that we were having a girl, I decided to draw a cartoon of what I thought she'd look like.

I also wrote a letter to Beverly Cleary (yes, I'm a nerd) to tell her how I was tempting fate by naming my daughter after one of kid-lit's most rambunctious youngsters. I got a postcard in return (form letter, but still cool that I got it right before she was born) with a drawing of Ramona surrounded by books. The one she's reading in the picture is "The Mouse and the Motorcycle," which is the book I got autographed when I was a little kid.

So happiness abounds here at Siftin' Headquarters, so I thought I'd share and annoy the crap out of people. Enjoy!

My new favorite crayon.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

From the You Thought You Had a Bad Day Department...

Have you ever been walking by yourself, and you trip on a crack in the sidewalk? It's not as bad if it happens when you're with friends, because you can play it off. By yourself, you just look like a moron who can't walk properly, and people driving by will honk to mock you.

Crazy stuff happens to people all the time. From falling down a staircase while trick-or-treating to munching out when you go down a hill and off a ramp sideways in your cousin's back yard on a Big Wheel. I've always felt like a schmuck because my first impulse is to laugh. Even--and especially--when it's me.

Or my brother.

I don't like seeing people get hurt; it's not that. For some reason, I guess I'm just wired to find that kind of thing funny. I can't help it. I'd watch the opening credits of "The Wide World of Sports" just to watch the "Agony of Defeat" guy. I guess it's my, uh, single personality flaw.

So as you might imagine, those lame shows on TV that show nothing but clips like that are like gold to me, much to my embarrassment. I've been known to giggle like an 8-year-old girl almost to the point of tears at a montage of people falling in unusual ways on "AFV."

There are other shows that feature "amazing" video clips of weird stuff happening. I am sucked in to watching specials like this on TV. Sure, I can watch the clips online or see them as animated gifs, but I'm always curious to know what happened. Of course, most of the time, these shows are no help. They just show the clip 3 or 4 times, sometimes in slo-mo, and play ominous music. For example:

The best part is when the phrase "then, he plunges into darkness" comes up. Simply aces. Not surprisingly, an extensive investigation was unable to find who the guy was. Like people would volunteer that kind of information.

"Oh, guy's head up an elephant's butt? Oh, that was me."

I guess it was pretty scary, but you know the first thing people think when they see that is, "I wonder if it smelled like peanuts in there."

Can you imagine this guy going home and telling his family about it?

"Hi, honey, how was your day?"

"Charlie and I are going to go fishing next weekend, Phil found out his wife is having a girl, and my head went up an elephant's ass."

"What was that last part? I couldn't hear you."

"Never mind. Crappy day. What's for dinner?"

Along these lines, there's the following clip, which looks fake.

I first encountered it as an animated gif, which I then posted as a comment on my sister-in-law's MySpace page just to be a jerk. (Or a horse's ass, yes, I know. I'm all about taking the high road, okay?)

I'm not all about the misfortune of others. A bit, but not all. The infamous Grape Lady video, in which a live news feature on a grape festival goes awry, illustrates how important sound (or lack of it) is. It's a lot easier to laugh at people falling when you can't hear them crying in pain.

Of course, if you are a big, cynical jerk, which I may or may not be, you might find yourself laughing yourself to tears anyway, replaying it over and over, much to the disappointment of your wife.

To be fair, if the reporter hadn't cheated after she called time, she likely wouldn't have fallen. I hope she wasn't seriously hurt, of course; I'm not that insensitive. Nor am I insensitive enough to make a whine/wine joke at her expense.

But notice how hard the folks back in the studio are trying not to laugh. I'm not alone.

Having taken a number of spills in my day, including one time when I ran full-speed into a custodial supply locker the size of a large metal dumpster, the pain isn't what gets you. It's knowing everyone else saw it and how goofy you looked moving in a way that people usually don't move.

Or if afterward, you have to give a speech in front of the whole class while holding an icepack on the giant goose egg on your noggin.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

What up, G?

I went on an archaeological expedition of sorts recently. With my parents as navigators, I headed to the Hayward/San Leandro/San Lorenzo area, which is where I lived until I was about 6 years old.

Even though I don't live that far away from there, I hadn't been back since I was in high school. During the whole time I was there, it was a little like being in a dream, as everything looked familiar, but a bit off.

Some buildings looked the same but housed different stores. Other buildings that I expected to see were gone, replaced by the same cookie-cutter strip-mall architecture found throughout the country.

We visited the San Lorenzo Public Library, where I got my very first library card when I was 4. The bench upon which I shakily signed my name on my card had been replaced by self-serve stations to check out books, but the swing set out in the little playground outside the library was still there. My son, Brody, got in a bit of swinging time himself, which he enjoyed quite a bit.

One of our last stops was around where the old Doggie Diner used to be in San Lorenzo. Much to my dismay, the building that once housed the eatery is now home to a Starbucks.

I don't remember eating there, per se, but I know it made an impression on me, because it gave me a nightmare that to this day, I still remember.

I was 3, almost 4, when I had this dream. In it, it's almost bedtime, and I'm sitting on my bed, getting ready to take off my socks (brown with a white and a tan stripe). The hallway that led to my room is dark, the only light coming from the living room. As my door is open, I see a shadowy figure skulking toward my room.

It is the Doggie Diner mascot, impossibly tall, like Clifford the Big Red Dog, and before I can hop off my bed, he scoops me up in one hand. I was worried that he was going to eat me, but he doesn't. Instead, he tickles me. I'm laughing so hard that I can hardly breathe. And then I woke up.

Why I remember this almost 30 years later, I can't begin to explain.

I remember seeing the giant dog mascot every time we went to Gemco, which was across the street from Doggie Diner. Not too far from there is Black Angus, which also holds a permanent place in my early childhood memory.

I was in the car with my parents; I was probably 4 years old, tops; I don't remember my brother having been born yet. We drove by the restaurant in the early evening, when the sign was lit up. I heard some suppressed giggles from the front seat, and my ears perked up. I was always on the lookout for anything that made people laugh.

As it turns out, the "G" on the Black Angus sign was burned out. But I didn't know why it was funny, being only 4.

"What's a anus?" I asked.

This just prompted more laughter, and I don't think I actually got my question answered. To this day, every time I pass a Black Angus, I always look to see if the "G" is lit up, much to my wife's delight, I'm sure.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Thing ring, do your thing

OK, the video is a bit rough. Just imagine that you're 12 years old again, and you're watching scrambled Cinemax in the middle of the night in the hopes of seeing a boob or something.

Here is the opening for Fred and Barney Meet The Thing, the cartoon show that fails on damn near every level, including the name. Yes, cats and kittens, only in the opening sequence are the titular characters together.

I've mentioned the show here before, but in case you missed it, someone somewhere got the idea to take The Thing, the orange, rocky looking powerhouse from the Fantastic Four, and make him into a wimpy teenager. To change back into the Thing, he pressed the two halves of a ring together and said, "Thing ring, do your thing!"

I would have loved to hear the logic that went into this craptacular concept.

I can only wonder if at some point, they thought they were going to get the license to do a Captain Marvel cartoon, wrote a bunch of stories, only to have the license yanked at the last minute, forcing them to pull a character from a property they'd already done and completely change him.

So, if we work backward from the result, the math looks something like this:

The nth permutation of the Flintstones + The Fantastic Four - 3.75 + Captain Marvel/Shazam + Shazzan! * mistaken notion about the Wonder Twins + ripoff of the theme song to the Super Friends + Scooby-Doo-like group of teens - cognitive thinking process = Fred and Barney Meet the Thing.

It's like the Hanna-Barbera snake eating itself.

I have a few episodes of this on tape somewhere, and let me tell you--don't bother. It's like an inescapable vortex of suck.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

It could be worse...

You know, I don't like to be overly judgmental or anything, but seriously, what the hell?Thug chipmunks make Baby Jesus cry.

Not like I think you have to do an in-depth study of the material to protect the artistic integrity of the concept, but was there anything wrong with the old-school Alvin and the Chipmunks?

Not the one with the Chipettes, mind you. Old school. The Alvin Show. The one that also featured Clyde Crashcup.

This movie could be perfectly delightful, but I'm really not liking the character designs.

So now this has me wondering what other cartoon property will be the next to be brought to the big screen.

If I had to guess, I'd imagine that The Jetsons would be the next Hanna-Barbera cartoon to get the big-screen treatment. And maybe after that, I'm afraid that Magilla Gorilla seems likely, with a CG gorilla and Danny DeVito as Mr. Peebles.

At some point, they're going to have to dig into the 70s Hanna-Barbera stuff. And while I have to admit, I'd be interested in the concept of a Hong-Kong Phooey movie, that also means that there could be a movie with Jabberjaw, The Partridge Family 2200 A.D., or, God help us, The Hair Bear Bunch.

But with '80s nostalgia being so big, I think they might skip the 70s altogether. And since they've already done the Transformers and He-Man (and I could swear I read that they're considering doing a Thundercats movie), that means that you can expect to see a movie based on the following '80s cartoon:

Eschewing the typical "In a world" opening, I can imagine the trailer beginning with something like "Brett Matthews is a high school student with drive."

Cut to some POV footage of a car driving really fast.

"But after he finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time--"

Some quick cuts of a car crashing through a wall--

"He finds himself on the road...and on the run."

And since you can't remake an '80s cartoon without throwing in a few "edgy" jokes for the old farts who used to be the target audience for the original show, you can expect at least one "stick shift" joke, a few "You wanna ride?" double entendres, and an offhand reference to the title character having junk in the trunk.

You think I'm kidding. Just wait to see who's laughing when this piece of crap (or something worse--Shirt Tales, anyone?) hits the theaters.

What can we learn from bad ideas like this? Be careful when you Google "Turbo Teen." I'm just sayin'...

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Gobots still suck.

Well, the Transformers movie opens today, and just as in 1986, I'm going to miss it. I know, I know, this seems like it would be right up my alley, what with it being based on a beloved toy property from the 80s and all.

You won't be hearing any complaints about how the movie is sullying childhood memories. Not from me, anyway. Here's the thing: I wasn't that into Transformers as a kid.

I had exactly one Transformer, and I got that as a Christmas present. It was Mixmaster, one of the Constructicons. I think he was the left foot when they all combined to become Devastator. If they manage to get the Constructicons in the sequel, I think it would be funny if they got Daniel Day-Lewis to do the voice.

There were two Transformers that I really wanted: Optimus Prime and Soundwave. I still wouldn't mind having them. Yeah, I could track them down on eBay or something, but I can't justify spending that much money on it.

The Constructicons


Optimus Prime


One of the reasons I didn't have more Transformers is because I was a lot more interested in the Super Powers Collection. And while the Transformers were fairly expensive, the Super Powers figures weren't, so I ended up with almost the whole collection.

Interestingly, I didn't really have any of the Gobots, either. I had one, and I wasn't all that impressed with it. The flying saucer Gobot I had was Pathfinder, which as I just found out during the course of research, was one of the few chick Gobots. Figures.

And while some of the Transformers required you to have a degree in physics to switch them from vehicle to robot and back again without breaking anything, the Gobots were much less demanding. Flip, flip, twist, done.

I see comments from people saying that they like Gobots better than Transformers, but if you'd said that at school back in the day, there was a good chance of getting your ass kicked. At the very least, you'd be a social pariah.

And no, I didn't say it.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Dumb Things I've Done (9 in an occasional series)

I'm taking advantage of the public library system to read books I used to check out all the time when I was a kid or books that I never got a chance to find. It's pretty sweet. I'm picking up some today, in fact.

My wife, angel that she is, has bought me a number of prized books from my childhood as gifts, even managing to secure a copy of How to Draw Super Heroes. This is in addition to Superman From the 30s to the 70s, the follow-up that expanded to include the 80s, and The Great Superman Book (which, I hear, is being rereleased soon) among others.

It's relatively easy (if you know where to look) to find such things these days; my wife is an expert at it. But when I was younger, in the days before eBay and online shopping, it wasn't as easy.

Thus, I feel I must relate my tale of shame.

In junior high school, I was big Trekkie geek. I got started in earnest around the time Star Trek IV came out. I had seen The Wrath of Khan and The Search for Spock in the theaters (one at a birthday party), but despite my dad telling me that I'd like the reruns of the old show, I wasn't really interested in it then.

I made up for it.

Every trip to a book store yielded another paperback or two, and I watched the reruns every chance I got, which at the time, was pretty often, as it was on multiple times on multiple channels.

One of my favorite books was the Star Fleet Technical Manual. It was reissued during the big Star Trek hoopla in 1986, which, in addition to being the year Star Trek IV was released, was also the 20th anniversary of the show's debut.

I pored over the drawings of the various ships, phasers, uniforms, etc. I busted out my tablet of graph paper and did my best at replicating the Enterprise.

Later, when Star Trek IV was released on video, I begged my parents to buy it. This was before you could just go on down to Wal-Mart or Target (or Gemco, for that matter) and pick up a movie for 10 bucks or less. That said, The Voyage Home was a steal at a MSRP of $29.99 (I think).

No, not mine. Mine's in storage. But it hung over my bed for a long time, thus ensuring I'd be the only occupant of said bed.I somehow managed to nab the promotional inflatable Enterprise that hung from the ceiling at my local Waldenbooks, but the sweetest thing was that James Doohan was coming to my hometown to promote the release. It was a sign. I had to go. I've got some pictures from that here.

I graduated from eighth grade, and one of the things my parents got me as a graduation present was the classic Trek episode, "Spectre of the Gun."

It wasn't too long before I decided to beg my parents to take me to a Star Trek convention. I think it was the summer of 1988, just before I started high school. There was one in Sacramento, and while I didn't win tickets from a radio contest (God help me, I tried. The contest required you to make up words to the Star Trek theme--and sing them), we still managed to go.

I was excited to see the guests (I think they were Marina Sirtis, Majel Barrett and Walter Koenig, but the few cons I went to have all blended together in my head), but when I saw the dealers' tables, I went nuts.

There was Star Trek stuff that I'd never heard of or imagined existed. And on one table was the original Star Fleet Technical Manual, in its hard black plastic slipcover. It was selling for $100, so naturally, I just had to be content with looking at it. Even with all my powers of persuasion, it would have been nigh impossible to convince my parents to help me buy a book that, aside from the cover, I essentially already had.

My usual refrain when pestering my parents to buy some odd pop-culture item was "But it'll be worth money someday." While I'd like to think I was envisioning an online auction site where, indeed, people could cash in on all the lame crap they have lying around the house, in reality, I was a kid trying to get what I wanted.

Surely, my great brain would figure something out.

A while later at the library, I saw the book on a shelf. It was missing its black cover, so it was just a red-covered softback. That got me thinking, though. Maybe there was another copy in the system. Sure enough, there was. And after a trip to the main branch of the library system, I was able to at least hold in my hands an original copy of the Star Fleet Technical Manual.

As I showed it to my friend, Ken, I lamented that this was as close as I'd come to an original copy of the book.

"Too bad they don't let you buy books from the library," he said.

"Yeah, the only time you do that is when you lose them," I replied. Midway through that sentence, my great brain came up with the perfect plan.

If I told the library that I lost the book, I reasoned, I'd have to pay to replace it. They'd get a copy of the reprinted version, and no one would be missing anything. Especially given that there were two other copies in the system already.

It made sense to a 13-year-old.

On my next trip to the library, I gathered up my courage (I somehow thought they'd see through my cunning attempt to trick them) and went to the circulation desk.

"I have to pay for a book I lost," I said, looking disappointed.

"I can make a notation on your record so you can have a little more time to try to find it. They usually turn up after a while. That way you won't have to pay for the book."

"No," I said, trying not to sound too eager. "I've looked everywhere it could possibly be. I can't find it anywhere. I'll just pay for it."

"Okay," she said, "let me look it up in the system to see how much the replacement fee is."

I was prepared to pay the 20 bucks or whatever the current version was going for. That still put me 80 bucks ahead. That was the beauty of my plan. I tried to maintain my doleful expression despite being proud of my own cleverness.

"That'll be $7.95," she said apologetically.


"Seven dollars and ninety-five cents. I'm sorry."

My ill-gotten gains. Note the residue from where I removed the library sticker.As I forked over a ten, I realized that $7.95 was the cover price of the book when it came out in 1975 (I've also seen one that was $6.95, but mine says that it's a first edition, so who knows?). I tried my hardest to look disappointed. I at least managed to hold out until I was out of the librarian's line of sight.

For just less than $8, I had the book I wanted.

Still, it didn't take too long for guilt to set in, so I vowed not to do it again. And even if I wanted to, a few years later, most of the libraries around me instituted a flat book-replacement fee.

The book is still on my shelf, and I feel a little guilty every time I crack it open. I have, however, given lots of money to libraries since then, so I think I've made up for my $7.95.

To dissuade anyone out there from embarking on a life of crime, I should point out that I just looked for the book on eBay, and it goes for as low as $6.99 (not including shipping) for a Buy It Now auction and starts at 99 cents for a regular auction.

Remember, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few (or the one). Most of the time, anyhow.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

New for Father's Day!

I promise there will be more content here soon. In the meantime, the Siftin' Store now offers the perfect gift for Father's Day. Buy early, buy often!

Carnivore sentiment or cautionary statement? You decide.

Monday, May 28, 2007

RIP, Charles Nelson Reilly

Tony winner. TV personality. Director. Acting coach. Game show icon. I grew up watching Charles Nelson Reilly on Match Game, so everything else I saw him in was in relation to that. This is certainly no slight against him; I still relate Marlon Brando to the first thing I saw him in -- Superman the Movie.

If you grew up watching TV in the 70s (and reruns in the early 80s), you couldn't help but see Charles Nelson Reilly. Don't believe me? Step into the YouTube Time Machine.

Bic Banana Ink Crayons

The School Riot on Match Game

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

Here's a clip from the show that features a performance from Harry Nilsson:

Lidsville (wait for the end)

Here's Lucy

Call Her Mom (a '70s TV-movie)

More Match Game

$10,000 Pyramid (briefly)

Match Game revival

Here are some extra CNR-related clips:

Mystery Science Theater 3000

Saturday Night Live

There's a film, The Life of Reilly, is an adaptation of his one-man show, Save It For The Stage: The Life Of Reilly. Once I get a chance, I'm totally going to check that out.

But for now, if you need to hear that laugh again, pop in your headphones and go here. It's a loop, so you can get as much as you want or need.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Tell a friend

Alan Hamel used to do commercials for one of the local grocery stores, the now-defunct Alpha Beta. The tagline in every commercial was "Tell a friend."

So to 5- or 6-year-old me, he was the Alpha Beta "Tell a friend" guy. I didn't find out till later that he's married to Suzanne Somers.

While poking around on YouTube today (I've been finding a lot of good stuff lately, so I figured I'd look for more), I found an old Alpha Beta commercial from 1981, and sure enough, right at the end, BAM -- "Tell a friend."

A popular joke at recess in those days:

Did you hear Alan Hamel died? Tell a friend.

And if that happens someday, I'm ashamed to say, that's the first thing that will come to mind. Does that make me a bad person?

Alpha Beta had the cool-ass carts that had enough room so you could sit on the bottom, and there was the bank of machines near the front of the store that you had to use if you were going to pay by check. I guess it was like a preauthorization thing. My Google-fu couldn't turn up any pictures, alas.

I'm actually surprised the store name hasn't made a comeback. I'm thinking online grocery store with a little geek factor, plus retro nostalgia. The logo, I bet, would likely look something like this:
Wouldn't be a beta logo without drop shadow.

Monday, May 14, 2007

76 minutes on 50% power

Hey, guys, there are two words hidden in this picture...Sometimes you want to rent a movie based just on the title alone. Hence today's movie, Microwave Massacre. Seriously, how can you miss with a title like that?


The movie in a nutshell: Donald is a henpecked schlub who accidentally develops a taste for human flesh.

The story: Donald (Jackie Vernon) is a construction worker who suffers at every meal because his wife, May, is interested in gourmet food, which she cooks with her enormous microwave oven from Major Electric.

Now let's take a quick look at this microwave. Here's the box:

Aw, c'mon, what's in the box?
And here's the gargantuan appliance that allegedly arrived in said box:

Obviously, this was before the advent of SpaceSaver microwaves.
One day while eating a giant-crab sandwich, Donald's co-workers, Philip and Roosevelt, see Knothole Girl (yes, that's how she's billed in the credits). Knothole Girl's sole purpose in this movie is to "accidentally" push her chesticals through a hole that just so happens to be able to accommodate them both at the same time. Roosevelt almost reaches Knothole Girl, but she moves just before he gets there.

Meanwhile, back at Donald's house, May is back from the store, and she talks to the dog about how the new microwave is opening up a whole new area of cuisine.

Side by side on my piano keyboard, oh Lord...Back on the site, Roosevelt is trying to tell Philip how to get into the groove. This is supposed to be funny because a white guy is trying to teach a black guy how to feel music. And the white guy is named Roosevelt.

All of this within the first five minutes, by the way.

Donald wants to trade his lunch, but the guys aren't going for it.

When Donald gets home, May is preparing another meal. He fantasizes about killing May. You know, the usual.

Dinner is a bunch of back and forth half-assed bickering. Donald asks why he can't just get normal food. May says the dog eats better than him; Donald agrees.

...Happy...birthday!The next day at lunch, Donald eats a dog food sandwich, while Knothole Girl, in shorts riding up to about her sacroiliac, walks onto the construction site. She wants Roosevelt to introduce her to the big buffed guy, who -- hardy-frickin-har -- is gay.

Donald stops at a bar on the way home and is still drunk when he comes home to May. He slurs a request for a bologna and cheese sandwich. He goes on a slob rampage around the house -- spitting water in May's food, emptying the vacuum bag all over the living room and pissing on a potted plant in front of the fireplace, which prompts her to say, "Donald, there is something bothering you."

He goes to throw out May's food (to help her food go farther, yok-yok) and she dumps it on his head. He goes ape, chokes her and finishes her off with the pepper mill.

The next day, he's hung over ("Ooo, I don't remember leaving a wake-up headache...") and wonders where May is with his breakfast. He's hungry and checks the microwave for something to eat. He opens it up, and May is in there. He sets it on slow broil.

It's time for lunch at work, and nabs a Jumbo Jack out of the lunch van, which prompts Roosevelt and Philip to ask what his wife will think. He says he doesn't worry anymore.

Later, he decides to cut up May, wrap the pieces in foil and stick her in the freezer, while taking out the old stuff ("Gotta make room for May."). We get a closeup of him wrapping her hand. He puts it in the freezer, but doesn't see it fall in with the old food.

In a "comedy" bit, he watches a TV talk show about committing the perfect crime. The "comedy" comes from the swear words not being bleeped out properly. Sigh.

In the middle of the night, Donald goes to get a snack. Napoleon, the dog, is whining at the garage door, which bugs Donald.

"Napoleon, she had to call him. I'm gonna kick him in his Bonaparte."

He grabs one of the foil-wrapped goodies he took out of the freezer to make room for May. I think we know where this is going. He likes it and unwraps the rest of it -- OMGWTFBBQ! It's May's hand.

"May!" he says, while the wah-wah sting plays.

He brings some May to work with him the next day and shares some of his Maywich with his work pals, who both love it.

Later at home, we see Donald making a May-kebab.

Cut to the bar, where he is in a much better mood. A chick at the bar is making faces at him, probably prompted by the wakka-chicka music that erupts out of nowhere. Sam kicks her out, as she's, uh, looking for customers, if you know what I mean.

Outside the bar, her shoe breaks. Donald catches up with her and apologizes for how Sam treated her. Apparently she has a quota or is saving up for a new Atari or something, because she offers him a shot. Her name is DeeDeeDee (her mom wanted to name her Delia, but she stuttered).

Donald takes her back to his place, but he's reluctant to, uh, get his money's worth from DeeDeeDee, which frustrates her.

"That's it! You've been gonged, mister." There's a timely reference. She goes off to get something to eat, but that pisses off Donald. He takes her to the couch and smothers her both with himself and with a flower pillow.

He lays her out on the chopping block in the kitchen, where she both moves her hands and breathes, despite being dead. As he grabs an ax, he says the line of the movie.

"I'm so hungry, I could eat a whore."

Donald and his buddies go bowling and then harass a Jack in the Box clerk at the drive-through. And it's an old-school Jack in the Box, back in the days of giving your order via clown head.

"Hello! Anybody home?"

"May I have your order, please?"

"Uh, let down your hair, unbutton your blouse, hike up your skirt, stick out your tongue ... and a Coke!"

Follow the leader, she's wearing Honda panties.The hilarity ensues when we see them drive off, leaving the confused clerk at the window, having followed his order.

One of the running gags concerns Donald's oversexed neighbors. It's there to provide some flesh and no humor at all.

Donald has to make room in the freezer for DeeDeeDee, so he throws out some of May. Later, a homeless guy finds her arm in the trash and uses it as a scratcher. I'm ashamed to have been paying this much attention, but if he ate one of May's arms as his initial foray into cannibalism, and we saw him impaling one of her hands to make a May-kebab, how is there a hand and forearm to throw away? Unless it's from DeeDeeDee, but that wouldn't make sense following the last bit of dialogue.

Another unfunny bit at a hardware store leads us to Donald's next kill. Okay, it doesn't actually lead to it, but it is the scene that comes right before it, which in this movie, is what passes for a narrative. The victim is naked on a giant piece of bread, and he's slathering her with mayonnaise from a tub of Best Foods (I'm sure they were just ticked pink for that bit of product placement).

He meets his next victim while out for a walk. She's in a crap chicken costume shilling for a restaurant. He invites her over for dinner. The last we see of her is a detached foot that looks like it came from a giant.

Later, Donald is spilling his guts out to a shrink, who is asleep. His problem is that he can't get it on with a woman unless he plans to kill her and eat her afterward, which is sick even ignoring the whole killing and eating part, unless he cleans her first. The doctor wakes up and misunderstands Donald's reference to eating, which I think was supposed to be another joke.

While cooking up his latest b(i)atch of food in the microwave, he seems to have a heart attack or something. I guess it wasn't serious, because he goes out to the garage later to fill up the freezer. May's head keeps appearing and disappearing. He finds it in the house and is holding it behind his back when there's a knock on the door. It's May's sister.

He props up the head on a pillow to convince May's sister that she's just sleeping, but she gets closer and sees it's just a head. Donald stuffs a baguette in her mouth and thinks he's killed her, which worries him, because that would mean he'd have to do it with her.

Time for a checkup with Dr. Von Der Fool (oh sweet God, when will it end?), who tells him that all the tests are okay; Donald's pacemaker is still working just fine. A nurse brings in the results, which I thought he'd just said were fine, but whatever.

We see a truck from "Bwana Meats: Let Us Cater Your Next Pagan Ritual" and Donald getting his coat out of the closet, ignoring May's sister. Don't know what they have to do with each other, but that's the sequence in which they fall.

There's another neighbor bit, and this time she's watering her lawn in such a fashion that it looks sorta like she's taking a leak.

In short order, Donald picks up another girl, kills her, cuts her up, etc.

In the next scene, Donald's neighbor is digging holes in her flower bed with a vibrator. Yeah, your guess is as good as mine.

Hey, this isn't going to be important later, is it?Another victim, another yawn. He's in charge of party snacks. His pals arrive, only to find Donald on the floor in the kitchen. They see the body parts in the microwave -- and the sticker that says "Caution! This microwave may affect pacemakers."

A while later, the house is up for sale. Movers are taking out furniture, May's sister is finally found in the closet. Two guys in the kitchen are checking out the microwave, and in case we missed the clue with the sticker, we hear that someone screwed up the wiring in the microwave, and that it's a deathtrap for anyone with a pacemaker.

Does this remind anyone else of those shrunken-head models you used a peeled apple for?With that, the camera goes into the garage, and the freezer door opens, revealing May's head, which for some reason is back on the top shelf. Oh yeah, and her eyes start to glow. Spooooky.

And that's 76 minutes of your life you aren't getting back.

Afterthoughts: Let's talk about disappointment. Though billed on the DVD as "The Worst Horror Movie of All Time," it isn't. Not in a world where there exists "Blood Freak."

Don't get me wrong; it's not a great horror movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it's not the worst because I refuse to believe it was supposed to be a straight horror movie. Instead, it was the always-difficult-to-pull-off horror movie spoof. But instead of spoofing the classic movie monsters, now it was time to make fun of gory horror movies and psycho-nut killers.

Before the "Scary Movie" franchise, before "Scream" (while not a spoof, it was definitely riffing on horror flick conventions) or the proto-"Scream," "There's Nothing Out There," there was "Microwave Massacre."

Though released in 1983, presumably for the big home video boom, I've seen a few references to it being filmed in 1979, which makes a lot more sense -- both in terms of the fashions and the fact that it took four years for this to show up somewhere.

This wasn't the first horror movie spoof I'd seen. That honor goes to Paramount's "Student Bodies," which came out in 1981. I haven't seen it in decades, but there are two things I will always remember about it. During one scene, someone leaves the door unlocked, and in case we missed it, an arrow flashes "Unlocked." That made me chuckle a bit. And when someone goes to answer the door, instead of a killer or a regular person there, it's just a dog, who farts.

Dog farts = comedy gold.

But back to "Microwave Massacre." Despite the title, there really isn't a microwave massacre. When you see that title on a box (back in its VHS days, it wasn't going for the camp angle on the packaging), you expect some creative carnage. I mean, you already had "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," "Driller Killer" and "Love Story." The idea of someone doing a little wholesale slaughter with a microwave, man, sign me up.

The biggest problem with a horror spoof is keeping it scary and funny. But here, scenes begin and end without really having any sense of continuity. At times, it's so disjointed that it's almost like channel surfing. There's not really much in the way of transition.

I like oranges.

It's just like that.

Still, it's kinda fun anyway. Jackie Vernon is deadpan all the way through, and given the material, it's probably for the best. It's even more fun if you close your eyes and imagine him as Frosty the Snowman saying all his dialogue.

This is yet another movie that's best watched with friends. It's barely over an hour long, though it seems a lot longer in parts.