Saturday, June 14, 2008

E.T. the extra-functional

Of all the store catalogs I used to comb through to plan birthday and Christmas wish lists, the Best Products catalog was one of my favorites.

I loved going to that store. Whether it was testing out the keyboards by playing "Axel F" or drooling over the G.I. Joe aircraft carrier, I almost always saw something to covet.

The pneumatic tube system they used always fascinated me. You'd write down the number of the items you wanted, handed it to the person behind the counter, and they'd put it in a tube, and SHOOOP--it would get sucked up into the ceiling.

Anyway, I was looking at an old catalog--from 1983--and came across this gem.

Ooh! An extra-terrestrial! Where's he from? Uranus?

This is the Hasbro E.T. Roommate--Product 358010HF if you're writing this down. For the low, low price of $49.97, you too could have this creepy-as-hell hamper/toy chest/cat prison.

Imagine waking up in the middle of the night and bumping into that thing, especially if you were as little as the kid in the picture. I liked E.T. as much as the next kid, but come on. And what's with the Amy Winehouse eye makeup he's got going on?

"They tried to make me go to fed lab, I said phone, phone home..."

Friday, June 13, 2008

No, really. This was a movie.

I think I've mentioned before that after reading The Golden Turkey Awards, my introduction to the world of crap movies, I made it a goal to see all the movies listed in the book.

The 1970s, as I'm finding out by watching old crappy movies, was a time of high-concept cinema. Literally, no matter how brain-crackingly stupid the premise was, it didn't keep a movie from being made.

This was the era, after all, of the Bee Gees' musical wonder, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. I always wondered if the Beatles actually saw the movie, and if so, what they thought of it.

But I digress.

1972 gave us the antidrug, pro-Christian turkey vampire biker horror movie Blood Freak. 1976 unleashed Chatterbox upon the world. I'm a little at a loss as to explaining the premise of this comedy in a mildly tasteful fashion.

Really struggling here.

Okay, any impressionable or easily offended types, you may want to stop right here. I won't blame you.

Here it goes:

A lady discovers that her hoohah (to use the clinical term) can talk and sing.

I excrete you not; this was a real movie. In The Golden Turkey Awards, it was a nominee for "Most Unerotic Concept in Pornography," but alas, was beaten (so to speak) by Him, a movie about, well, you look it up. I have my limits.

Now technically, I haven't watched Chatterbox yet. I don't know exactly when I'll get around to it. I mean, seriously, what kind of a mood do you have to be in to watch a talking hoohah movie?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

When you're a Jet, you're a Jet all the way

Long before Fight Club, I was one of a number of kids who participated in fighting activities that were expressly forbidden at my school.

Even a nerd like me threw caution to the win and engaged in the fights. There was no elaborate setup; often you and your opponent would just throw down.

But first you needed to prepare, and that meant a trip to the school library at lunchtime. That was where you got your gear.

All the professional pencil fighters swore by the NFL team pencils from the library vending machine. Occasionally, some joker would try to play with one of those Husky pencils that you get in kindergarten--you know, the ones that are as big around as an elephant's leg. But those weren't considered regulation gear.

Many a quarter vanished into that machine, and in addition to dispensing pencils, it also dispensed fate.

In mid-80s Northern California, two team pencils were coveted over all others: the 49ers and the Raiders. If you managed to get one of the red-and-gold or silver-and-black marvels, you had a better chance of winning your pencil fight. The Steelers and the Jets were acceptable second-tier teams.

If, however, you were unlucky, your the machine would puke out teams such as the Browns or Colts. You might as well have snapped those in half yourself rather than risk embarrassment.

Every pencil fighter had his style, but the general approach was the same: while securing one end of the pencil in one hand, you used the other to flick the metal end, at which point the middle of your pencil--the meat, if you will--clashed with your opponent's.

You weren't supposed to try to hit with the metal end; in fact, that was the dangerous part. Every flick had the potential to smash the living crap out of someone's finger by "accident."

But assuming you made the regulation pencil-to-pencil contact, you and your opponent took turns, hoping each hit would be the one that splintered a pencil into oblivion.

The audience took pains to obscure the view of the fight from any teacher, lest the fight get canceled. But once they heard the telltale crack, they got louder and more sure of who was going to win.

We nerds had a bit of an advantage, as it was not uncommon for the badass kids to make such a show of delivering the famed one-hit fatality that they snapped their own pencils.

And suggesting that said badass was only pencil fighting to compensate for anatomic deficiencies usually didn't go over very well.

In any event, even if the nerd won, he'd lose; the badass would just grab the winning pencil and snap it in his face.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Custard's Last Stand

I just read that Strawberry Shortcake is getting a redesign. This puzzled me, as I thought this had already happened, but I guess it's a reredesign.

According to this article, the line of dolls will be more "fruit forward."

Which means, I presume, that in addition to spending "her time chatting on a cellphone instead of brushing her calico cat, Custard," The Peculiar Purple Pie Man will also be absent.

If you're already wondering "Um, dude, why do you care about dolls? Like girl dolls, anyway," I might remind you that I have a daughter.

Also, I was the only XY at all-XX birthday parties in elementary school, so I'm quite familiar with Strawberry Shortcake and Hello Kitty and all that kind of stuff.

When we got our cat, my first suggestion for a name was Custard because it was the first thing that came to mind. That was nixed pretty quickly, and I came up with Muffin, because you know, Strawberry's friend was Blueberry Muffin...

Honestly, I don't know why I was pushing for a Strawberry Shortcake-related name. The only thing I can think of was that I was trying to impress a girl in my class. I had this unfortunate tendency to do things just because girls asked me to.

Remind me to tell you about the Jeff the Cuddly Kitten Incident sometime.

Um. Right.

Anyhow, why does she have to have a cell phone and not a cat? You can identify with a fictional character without them being exactly like you (not that my daughter is getting a cell phone any time soon).

How much like Superman am I (aside from the cape)? For that matter, how much like Strawberry Shortcake were girls of the 1980s?

Their hair didn't smell fruity; it was either Johnson's Baby Shampoo or at the most, Jean Nate. They didn't dress like Holly Hobbie rejects, though in fairness, I do remember one classmate wearing a bonnet on a field trip.

Instead, the design is veering a little too near Bratz territory for my tastes, so I'm hoping I won't be begged by my daughter to buy these fruit tarts for her.

She's only 10 months old, but you never know...

And while researching this, I found the Web site for Holly Hobbie. This is not Holly Hobbie.

Hang on a sec.


Oh, okay. This Holly Hobbie toy is apparently the great-granddaughter of the one we old people grew up with.

Like having kids doesn't make you feel old enough. Sheesh. Next thing you know, they'll be making a Smurfs movie or something.



Smurf me.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Behold the Shat

Off to play some Guitar Hero with the missus, but here's something profound to think about until tomorrow.

Monday, June 09, 2008

The Best of Twitter Collection

If you didn't know, I post teeny things to Twitter, whether they are glorified status changes ("Me am sleepy. Zzzzz.) or gags I couldn't work into a whole blog post.

I also have an autopost to pull whatever blathering I've posted here recently and make a Twitter post of that as well.

I've been using Twitter since February, so I thought I'd look back and see if there was anything worth posting here, partially because this cold is still kicking my ass and I'm really too tired to think of anything clever, and partially to give you a sampling of what you're missing by not following me on Twitter.

Now keep in mind, "follow" is Twitter's verb, not mine. I would go more for "deliberately put up with pointless meanderings for the hope of a nugget of laughter," but that might be a little too long, and we don't want to give Twitter more reasons to be down, do we?
Idea of the minute: A Tetris game with oranges, lemons, limes, etc.: Citris. 10:49 AM March 10, 2008

You know, it says something when you switch to a Barry Manilow song to avoid hearing a Michael Bolton song. 03:12 PM March 25, 2008

Viagra turns 10! Hard to believe. So to speak... 08:40 AM March 28, 2008

Would a zombie vampire be easier or harder to defeat? 03:13 PM April 04, 2008

My Tweetcloud lists words that should never be seen together: manilow, marshmallow, marshmallows, masturbating, mcdonaldses 01:24 PM April 07, 2008

Thought for the day: Ra was apparently *not* the god of cheerleading. 10:00 AM April 10, 2008

How have they not used ELO's "Turn to Stone" for a Viagra ad? 01:54 PM April 11, 2008

CleverUserName I sometimes wonder about inappropriate things, like are there "adult" Jell-O molds? I don't really want to know, but still... 02:21 PM April 24, 2008

Pubic Zirconium would be a great name for a band. 12:20 PM May 02, 2008

A movie I can't believe hasn't been made yet: Ax-wielding killer targets defrocked priests---Axcommunication. Rated R. 04:18 PM May 08, 2008

And the most recent:
Waiting for a pro-pornsite story so I can use the headline "Naughty URLs need love, too."

So if this is the kind of thing you want interrupting your busy day, join the club.

Sunday, June 08, 2008