Thursday, June 19, 2008

Pea...Tear...Griffin.

P is a letter that's gotten a bad rap. Just the pronunciation of the letter itself can make the prudish somewhat squeamish. The word 'ool is a good example. Notice that there is no "kick you in the face" in it. Let's keep it that way.

Here are some better words that begin with P.



Procrastination: ...I'll get to this one later.

The Pilver: A site run by a blogger friend of mine from X-E. Her real name is Kristiane, a name that I haven't the life of me know how to pronounce. She hails from Minnesota (perhaps that's how she was assigned that name), she mostly blogs about how interesting her life seems to be there. A lesser blogger might create boringness from her seemingly mundane topics, like her obsession with The Cure, a kooky Radio Show Hostess that actually reads her blog, the eccentric owner of the restaurant she works at, checking out her credit score, and pictures of her revisiting jobs that she left years ago, but she pulls it off quite well. In yesterday's entry, she profiles a friend/author of hers whom she admired for his writing style and wished to be as good as him. Hell, I'll admit, sometime I say the same about her. I don't think I'm that funny at all. For some reason, I talk or type, and then people laugh. The only way I really know is if I get feedback, or else this feeling of blandness reciprocates itself. Then again, I like having a blog that defies any formal description.

She claims that the name "Pilver" came from a random conversation where she and a friend attempted to find words that rhymed with "silver." I wish I could make up words, like Igloble. I still don't have a working definition for that one yet. Perhaps I should somehow lobby it to be the eighth word you can't say on TV?

Percussion: The musical term that describes an instrument that makes sounds when you bang on it, like the drums. Back in the second grade when we were picking out instruments to play for the following school year, this was on the list of available instruments. The problem was that my tiny 2nd Grade Brain had no clue what this word meant. After searching for a full five minutes for "drums" and too embarrassed to ask where it was, I settled on "Trumpet." Had I known that Percussion = Drums back then, It's extremely likely that would have turned out to be a completely different person, as I hated the Trumpet with a complete passion and gave up on musical instruments. I might be a drummer in some rock band, and not the blogging geek who likes to make up words like "Igloble."

Pogs: I know that I'm not the only one who loved this early 90's fad. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had stopped being popular, Power Rangers had just started out, Beanie Babies and N64 were a few years away, and Pogs filled that gap. For those not in the know, they were these little round discs with all sorts of weird, wacky designs on them, and there were heavier discs, either forged of metal or hard plastic called "Slammers." You were supposed to build stacks of Pogs with your friends collections, and you threw your slammers at the pile to flip them over. Depending on the game, if the Pogs landed on the opposite side that they were all stacked up on when you threw your slammer, you kept all of those Pogs. This led to Pogs being considered a form of gambling, and their subsequent banning. It's the sole reason why I never participated in those games and managed to keep every single Pog I ever found. I still have all of them to boot.

The official Pog company attempted a revival about two years ago, but it was unsuccessful. It's tough when it was the only company that actually produced them. The beauty of this fad was that, like trading cards, literally anything was put on a Pog, and anyone could make them. Sure, the official Pog Corporation was around too, but it was mostly there to hold official Pog events at Toys R Us to give out special Pogs (some of which I have), and even create a Pog Maker (which I had, but unclear if I still do). It's the various companies and third & fifth-party stores that kept the initial craze alive. There were several companies that had their own sets, some local to certain regions. It was absolutely impossible to get them all.

The ones to get were the ones labeled "POISON." It was full of funky tie-dyed backgrounds and skeletal imagery. The designs ranged from the standard "Skull With Snakes Crawling Out of It" to "Skeleton Playing Golf While Wearing Golf-Related Attire." Many of the awesome ones also glittered wildly, mesmerizing anyone who wields it in front of their eyes.

Definitely unlike the attempted revival where there which only consisted of approximately 52 Pogs and 12 slammers. And I have them all. The combination of about 50 free packs and an afternoon of boredom at my old KB Toys job helped in accomplishing this feat.

My favorite slammer involves OJ Simpson. It has OJ's picture behind bars with the caption "OJ IN THE SLAMMER." On the other side is an orange with the number 32 on it with the caption "WHERE'S THE JUICE?" Awesome. Expect pictures of proof of its existence up in the near future.

Pee-Wee's Playhouse: Great kid's show, or the greatest kid's show? Every generation of children has their defining Childhood Educational Show, and this was mine. It was a half-hour acid trip disguised as a Children's Show created by Paul Reubens in the late 80's. Pee-Wee Herman himself was this eccentric Man-Child who owned his own playhouse where everything was alive. The chair, the clock, the flowers, even his damn floor talked! It's well-known that Rob Zombie was a set designer on the show, and even created the famous Bike Helmet that Pee-Wee wore at the end of every episode after the first season. The show would teach valuable lessons that little kids had managed to absorb: Friendship is important, Don't judge a book by its cover, Use Your Imagination, Face your fears, It's legal to marry Fruit Salad if you love it so much, and How to make Ice Cream Soup.

Human friends included Captain Carl (played by Phil Hartman!), Reba The Mail Lady, Miss Yvonne (his somewhat love interest who was the alleged slut of the Playhouse), the snoopish Mrs. Steve, Ricardo The Strongest Soccer Player in The World, Tito The Lifeguard (who only existed to strut around in a speedo), Cowboy Curtis (before-he-was-famous Lawrence Fishbourne!) and, of course, The King of Cartoons.

Once an episode, the King of Cartoons would show up at the playhouse to show a cartoon to everyone. In the first season, he was driven there in a taxi and was introduced by its driver, Dixie. From season 2 onward, the Flowers simply sang his theme song when it was his time to arrive. There were actually two King of Cartoons. The one that existed in the first season was played by Gilbert Lewis, a "Hey, It's That Guy" whose KoC mostly acted like he was drunk the entire time. I have no idea why, but he seemed confused whenever he was on screen, had terribly balance, needed a driver, and seemingly slurred his words. Perhaps the sensory overload kept getting to him. After season 1, he was replaced by the KoC that's more familiar to us. He was played by William H. Marshall, most known for portraying "Blackula." He was more distinguished, sober, had his booming delivery of "LET THE CARTOOOON...Begin," and can be easily perceived as being a fierce and proud leader of all Cartoons.

This in itself raises an interesting question: Did the King of Cartoons just come to the Playhouse out of respect for his friend, or did he go door-to-door showing Cartoons to random strangers? This thought came to me when I was rewatching the first season when Adult Swim ran the show again back in 2006. The only answer that we got was a brief one in a later season when the King remarked that he "has a lot more houses to get to."

Speaking of this temporary re-airing of the series, enough interest in Pee-Wee was sparked that Paul Reubens himself has been planning a revival! Apparently, it's going to include a better DVD release of the series (with commentary!), along with two new movies. One would be "Pee-Wee's Playhouse: The Movie," and the other would be a dark adventure in the same vein as "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure."

His non-human friends included Pterri the childish Pterodactyl, Randy the Bully Puppet, Globey the Globe, Magic Screen, Chairy the Chair, Mr. Window, The Dinosaur Family, Mr. Kite, The Food In The Refrigerator, Clocky The Clock, Knucklehead the giant hand that told bad knock-knock jokes, the Cowntess, Jambi The Genie (Mekka Lekka Hi, Mekka Hiney Ho!), and his robot Conky.

At the start of every episode, Conky would spit out the "Secret Word." If that Secret Word was said at any time in the episode, everyone SCREAMED REAL LOUD and the word would appear at the bottom of the screen whenever this happened. My favorite of these was "Zyzzybalubah," which was the name of an alien that beamed the Playhouse into space and managed to program Conky to make his name the Secret Word.

What is today's secret word, you may ask? Hmm...let's see.
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"Pog." Nice. You know what to do kids: Go back to the top and read this entry over again. Whenever you come across the secret word: SCREAM REAL LOUD!! Try this especially in public, and at 1am when your family is trying to sleep!



Procrastination: ...Maybe tomorrow.



Since today is June 19th, Happy 30th Birthday to Garfield! It's quite a feat, even though he's only been funny for 22 of them.







"Remember ALF? He's back! In POG form!"

3 comments:

kristiane said...

HA! Thanks so much for the links....Galileo. Though that doesn't feel like your real name :)

Galileo said...

Wait 'til you get to the S Entry if you liked theorizing my true name.

And a day after posting this, I finally realized how to pronounce your name. "Christy-Anne." This came to me while driving, of all things.

kristiane said...

no, my name is nice, I like it and everything, but it is pronounced waaay different than it looks. (well, not that off but) It's KRIS-TEA-AHH-NUH.