Monday, June 30, 2008


As a little "Cap" for June, I am presenting my own little summation of my "Things That Start With __" Project.

I hope you've enjoyed reading these 26 entries as I've been enjoying writing them. I wasn't planning on doing this for 26 straight days, but then an idea struck me: Why only write about A when I can top both Doho & Dan by doing entries for the other 25? And such, the project was born.

As you could tell by some past entries, there have been times where I doubted that I could finish, and considered quitting. There were days where I had trouble thinking up words, which should not have happened. But, my stubbornness prevailed and all 26 letters have had their day in the sun, with only F, S, and V catching some major burns. I hope that D's mole isn't melanoma.

And now some stats:

My favorite entries: A, B, D, E, F, G, I, P, W and Z

Entry with the most comments (as of this writing): G, with 8

Entries with the least comments (as of this writing): L, O, T, V and Y all have 1 comment each. Get on it, peoples!

Most successful Entry: N. It got the attention of Competitive Eater "Beautiful Brian" Seiken.

Least Successful Entry: P, which was posted on June 19th, my best day ever. It didn't get a single comment until 3 days after it was posted.

Favorite Titles: D, E, G and H.

Least Favorite Titles: L & V. I couldn't think of anything funny for V's entry. Also, I'm not counting A & B's entries, which were written before I decided to come up with better titles.

Now comes the good part: What are YOUR opinions of this little garglemesh of a project?

Also, this blog is the last time that the "Letters" tag will be used. After this entry, it is officially retired.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Coach Z says: "I have more than 2 prablems."

So it's come to this...the Letter Z. Who would imagine that I'd actually finish this little "project?" Certainly not me.

Z was also the last letter that was covered by someone else. Namely Dan, who had beaten me to it by about 3 weeks.

Z is there at the end of the alphabet to be just that, the end. It sounds like the perfect coda to the wonder that is The Alphabet Song. "W, X, Y, ZEE!' Imagine if the alphabet ended with a different letter? "W, X, Y, S!" "W, X, Y, A!" "W, X, Y, F!" Would never sound the same, would it? Especially the version that ends with A. You'd be like "Wait a sec...did we start over?"

I have no idea how the Alphabet was formed, but the guy who decided on the order must have had some sort of grudge against Z. For instance, Z was always the one that took the last danish, or cut the guy off in traffic moments before heading to the meeting where he decided on the order of the letters.

My opinion? Z slept with N, the Alphabet Order Guy's favorite letter. He was so ashamed that he stuck N before O, and Z at the end. It was so damaging that not many common words start with Z.

To give Z the credit it deserves, here, for the last time, are some words that start with Z.

Zoo: I love the Zoo, especially the Bronx Zoo. I have always had a love of animals, and while I don't like to touch them, I love to look at them through the safety of a 10 inch thick piece of glass. I haven't been to the Bronx Zoo in several years, which is a shame since they added so much new stuff. The last time I went there was the year before they opened up Congo Gorilla Forest. That was around 2000. I remember seeing the gorillas in the Ape House, which was since torn down and the location is where the Butterfly Garden is now.

I like looking through the history of places such as the Bronx Zoo, where what buildings used to house what, what's there now, what was it like when it was in the previous incarnation. The Bronx Zoo was famous for having a "Lion House" that held all of the Big Cats before moving them out into open exhibits like Tiger Mountain (where they used to hold Mexican Gray wolves), or the Africa exhibit. It's now used to house animals from Madagascar. I always wished that the characters from that crummy movie were put on display so I could demean them for being in such a crude piece of crap. That's when I remembered that they lived in the Central Park Zoo, and it is not the reason why I haven't been to the zoo in about 8 years.

My favorite exhibit? Jungleworld, where it's 80 degrees of mist 24/7. Whenever I step outside during a humid, drizzly day and sniff the air, I always seem to say "Hmm. Smells like Jungleworld." My other favorite is the Reptile House, which is awesome. The best detail? Right outside of it, there is a manhole cover with the TMNT logo on it. I don't know if it's still there, but I swear that it was there.

Since it was always a staple of school trips, I always manage to achieve a state of disbelief over meeting someone who never went there. "Go there!" I say, but they always do the same thing. They give me my Big Mac and tell me to go sit down.

Zocchihedron: The given name to a 100-sided die. This is the kind of topic that strays away from Geekery and dips into the realm of Nerdular Nerdence. I have absolutely no experience with Dungeons & Dragons, nor what the purpose of a die with 100 sides is, but I love funky dice. I love dice in the first place, with one of my favorite kinds being the traditional Vegas Dice with transparent colors. Hell, a pair from the Taj Mahal in AC remains one of my favorite possessions that also double as cat toys.

But if dice have more or less than 6 sides? I'm all over that shit. It just seems irregular. I remember wandering through my local comic shop to the shelf that had the D&D dice.

"A die with 4 sides? No way!"

Sadly, I never bought any of those. Six was always the regulation number of sides for dice. In three dimensions, that's a cube. But two dimensions? Six sides is a Hexagon. I remember when I learned about the 10-sided figure, the Decagon. "Holy crap, so that's what it's called!" I still don't know what a 7-sided figure is called, though. Heptagon? Octagon with a chunk bitten off?

Zoidberg: One of the best characters from Futurama, and one of my favorites. He plays the role of the "Doctor" of Planet Express, though as the series has progressed, it seems to be a self-proclaimed title. While being both miserably poor as well as miserably lonely, several jokes involving scraps of food and "real diplomas" are usually at his expense.

It's his quirky one-liners and comic timing that make him a stand-out favorite for me. Since he's from the planet Decapod 10, he has aquatic tendencies. He scuttles, confuses human anatomy with one of his own (and well, being ignorant of humans entirely), speaks with a Yiddish accent, sprays ink, he molts, and makes squeals that sound exactly like a lobster being steamed.

Hell, when Fry, Leela, and Bender were fired from Planet Express, it's revealed that Zoidberg was the Popular One, so everyone must now talk to him.

Among one of my favorite Zoidberg moments is during the episode "The Deep South" where he adopts a large conch shell as a new house at the bottom of the ocean.

"Look at me, Dr. Zoidberg! Homeowner!"

It subsequently burns down somehow. "So THAT'S where I left my cigar!" quips Bender.

For those of you not in the Futrama loop, the 2nd of 4 Futurama Epics "The Beast With a Billion Backs" was released on Tuesday, and there is much Zoidberg goodness! Although he doesn't have a large part, he is still causing hilarity with impromptu one-liners and abuse from the other characters. Those out there who are not in the know must be converted to the Futurama Goodness.

Zoot: One of the members of the Electric Mayhem from the Muppet Show. Serving as the band's sax player, he had his largest role during the first season. He was pretty much a toned down version of the personality that Floyd would later serve with better ability.

It seems that he was overshadowed by the more interesting bandmates of the Electric Mayhem, which happened to be the other 4 members. Floyd, Janice, Dr. Teeth, and of course Animal proved to be more dynamic and funnier characters. Zoot simply became a silent character and settled for playing the Sax 'til Muppet Kingdom Come. At least he managed to have a somewhat large role, as he is glad to not be the most obscure member. That goes to Lips, the trumpet player that was added in Season 5, and a bongo player that only appeared in the Dizzy Gillespie episode.

Zoot ending up getting the last laugh, though. He was the last Muppet you saw at the end of every episode. It just seems fitting to have Zoot as my final subject in the last "Things That Start With ___" entry.

So that's it. Twenty-six days, twenty-six straight entries. I'm never doing something like this again. Anyone else can take these reigns. Hell, do single entries for all I care, despite knowing that "Galileo did it first." Well, I'm not the first person to do this, but I am the first to do this for twenty-six straight days. At least I can finally sleep without thinking that I forgot to write an entry.

I know that I said that Daily Blogging will end, but that's not entirely true. What I mean is that Guaranteed Daily Blogging is ending. You might click to this blog tomorrow and find another entry. Who knows? I will.

"I read the Dictionary the other day. Turns out the Zebra did it."~Steven Wright

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Y? Because I do!

So it's come down to this: The Penultimate Letter of the Alphabet.

Y is known as a "Sometimes Vowel." I think that we, as Americans, have become obese on the overuse of the vowel. So now the Y Muppet is singing to us that "Y" must be a "Sometimes Vowel," while encouraging us to use the "Anytime Vowels" like U, I, and even A. Sad, I know, but that's how trends work, I guess. I miss the 90's, when we didn't have "Sometimes" and "Anytime" Vowels. I blame the overdose that killed off Forgetful Jones. He never did remember how much was a safe dose...

With that being said, here are some words that start with Y.

Youtube: One of the best sites ever until roughly around the winter of 2005. It was when SNL aired "Lazy Sunday" and had everyone clamoring to watch it millions of times. This caught the attention of NBC, who discovered that "hey, everyone's watching videos of all our hit shows! Let's complain so they'll remove each and every one of them!"

So thus began the first of several "Youtube Purges." Now most of the great vids are either in 5-second snippets, or have "Numa Numa" spliced within any actual footage, as well as the rise of some weird phenomenon known only as "Youtube Poop." Stay classy, Youtube.

Although these purges haven't stopped people from uploading full episodes of Freakazoid & MST3K. Thank FSM that the creators of those shows are pretty cool about having those episodes on there.

But no matter how sucky the site has become, the appeal to become the next "Youtube Hit" remains. Sadly, I am one of those people who have that on my Bucket List. It's always the idea that I can't come up with, but then again, most of the more noteworthy Viral Videos happened on accident, like this classic:

The great Afro Ninja has yet to to fail to crack me up. It's a shame that 18 seconds is all we saw of him. But thanks to Weezer, we saw more of his awesomeness.

You might have noticed that a majority of all embedded videos on here (or anywhere else) is via Youtube. It's with great reason, as it's easy, not ad-riddled, and one of the first video sites to actually do this. Eight years ago, I would've scoffed at the possibility of being able to watch actual videos of shows on the internet, let alone be able to embed them to sites & blogs like this one. Not to mention what a "blog" was.

Yesterday: When this entry was actually written. Yes, to get these entries up in the morning, I have written all of these "Things That Start With ___" entries a day in advance, as opposed to posting whenever I was finished with a blog. It was easier back at the start of this little project, as I would start an entry at school, and then come back home to finish it here. But since my summer class ended, I went back to the "save it for the last minute of the day" mentality that I have for any of my projects.

I seriously think that my creativity falters around the 1am mark, but apparently I keep hearing good feedback. I personally think that the inital A entry was one of my best, as I didn't really force myself to think of subjects.

Young Frankenstein: Back in the S Entry, I was receiving demands to cover this 1974 Mel Brooks classic as well.

I must make a confession to my 5 readers who press F5 300 times: I have never seen this movie from beginning to end. Oh yes, I've seen snippets of it, all the good parts, but I've never seen the movie in its entirety. It's not that I don't understand its awesomeness, I do. Peter Boyle, Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman, Teri Garr, Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman, and Kenneth Mars. All superstars in their own rights, with all of them being flat-out great.

Whenever I do find it on TV (usually Comedy Central), it seems that I always stumble upon this part:

Not that I'm complaining, it's one of the funniest things I've ever seen in a movie. Imagine in a serious-ish monster movie, it's all about the horror and rolling in the hay, and suddenly THIS comes right out of nowhere. I can do a great imitation of Peter Boyle singing his parts to this song, but only my cat knows this right now.

And now, here are some words where Y is the Sometimes Vowel:


See you tomorrow for Z!

Dedicated to Forgetful Jones, 1979-1992. May someone remember You.

Friday, June 27, 2008


Ah, X. X, X, x, X. The most complicated letter of them all. Due to X making the same sound as "ex," the latter is mostly used in words, so there aren't many words that actually start with X. Due to this rule, I will vow to not cheat and actually use words that start with X.

Whenever Sesame Street featured X, it was usually awkward. I remember one episode where X threatened to leave the alphabet due to it not being in any words. While everyone agreed that X didn't start many words, it got more love at the end, like in "Box," "Fox," and "Ox." It seems that O had gotten just as much love, but he didn't sponsor that day's show, now did he?

To further convince X to not commit suicide, Patti LaBelle wrote a love song about X:

You'd agree to not do anything drastic if Patti LaBelle was involved, right? X thought so, and it agreed to not deprive adult entertainment centers of its most important letter.

Here are some actual words that start with X.

XXX: It's a flavor of Vitamin Water. I don't remember how or why I was turned onto Vitamin Water, but it's good stuff. This flavor in particular tastes like drinking a Blue Raspberry Airhead. I've tried several others, but no Airhead goodness. I've always wanted to know what exactly the flavor was for White Mystery, but I guess we'll never know.

I've been drinking this stuff for months, but I haven't been able to conduct an orchestra to perform "In Da Club." Perhaps it's because I haven't tried Formula 50.

X'tapolapocetl: The name of the giant stone Olmec Head that resides in the Simpson's Basement. It was formally introduced in the 2nd season episode "Blood Feud," where it was given to the family by Mr. Burns as a "thank you" to Bart donating his blood to save Burns's life. Ever since that episode, every time we visit the basement in their home, the Olmec Head is seen in the background. It's a wonderful bit on continuity that only the Simpsons can give to their geekish followers.

This has been your "Random Simpsons Fact" of the day.

X-Entertainment: One of my favorite websites that I visit religiously. It's a site that's mostly about celebrating all things nostalgic. Since the site's humble overlord, Matt, is a child of the 80s, most of the topics are from the 80's. But this hasn't stopped him from featuring subjects from the 70's, 90's, and today.

There have been several upon several topics where I go "Hey, I remember that!" One of the best aspects of the site is that I also go "Hey, I'm not the only one who remembers that!" It's all thanks to a blog feature that's also part of the site.

While Matt's actual updates have been...sporadic as of late, but no one really cares because we know that he actually has a life, it's the "regulars" of his blog who are there daily. The people who regularly comment have given themselves lives of their own, offering to open the windows into their personal lives as well. At first, everyone comments about the topic at hand, and when 3 days go by, everyone is like "what now?" So the discussion becomes aimless and chat about why there are no Friday The 13th Movies playing on the actual Friday The 13th, who wants to play Brawl, what's on tv, etc. But when a week or two goes by with no update, anarchy ensues. Now this is rare, but the sanity would soon return when another "hey, remember this?" topic begins.

Hell, this site has even influenced how I see pop-culture. When I see something that Matt has highlighted, like Jones Soda, or Iron Man Slurpees, or even an Arby's in Penn Station, I say to myself "That's from X-E!" I once asked for a box of FrankenBerry from the blog, and someone actually managed to send me TWO boxes of it! Now that's power, folks.

The new thing among Matt's followers besides waiting for new updates on stuff we can unanimously remember is starting blogs. Several sites on your right have been started to emulate Matt...and I was inspired to finally start a blog because of X-E. We're all part of the cult, so join us...join us...join us...Sorry. That button gets stuck sometimes.

Well, aside from trying to think up some material for "Xylophone," that about concludes my ode to the Letter X. Maybe I'll go watch that Patti LaBelle vid again, there's not much more for X to do around here.

"This aint no Five X Whiskey, I can still see!"

Thursday, June 26, 2008

W W Galileo D?

I mentioned before that W is an odd letter. still is. I forget which font this is, but W in either case resembles a Double V rather than Double U. Helvetica to them all!

W might be considered in some circles as the most evil of letters, but I disagree. Here are some non-threatening words that start with W.

Wall-E: The 9th animated movie released by Pixar, and it's opening on Friday! Now this particular entry is one of the contributors of me miscounting the days that these blogs would be posted. I had originally assumed that W would be posted on Saturday for some reason, giving me time to see Wall-E on opening day, write a review about it, then post it. Obviously, that won't be the case.

I love the Pixar movies, and I have watched all but The Incredibles in the theaters. I regret not seeing that one in a theater, because it was one of the only Pixar flicks that was awesome enough to see on the big screen. Not surprising anyone, it's the only Pixar title I own on DVD. The last two flicks, Cars and Ratatouille, I saw on opening day. I plan on making this movie the third.

What I've read so far, Wall-E is the last robot on Earth and somehow ventures into space to climb aboard the last remaining human colony in space. Hilarity, fantastic animation, and John Ratzenberger ensues. The thing about these movies is that they all seem crummy from only watching the teasers and trailers, but the final result proving us dead wrong.

Good examples? Finding Nemo & The Incredibles. The initial teasers made the movies seem like "augh, not another one of these," but when I finally saw them..."Wow." I suggest going to see Wall-E...because I will see it first and taunt you with potential spoilers.

(A) War of Words: A blog run by my friend & co-worker Tim. He basically does the same thing that I'm doing right now, but he focuses on a single word. He also writes in well-written detail about this one word, describing what exactly does it mean. Sadly, he only does it weekly. He mostly posts on Wednesdays, and the new one, "Laughter" is up now. Go there now and support him.

Wii: One of my latest obsessions. When the name was announced, I went through all of the jokes:

"Don't come in, I'm playing with my Wii!"

"I'm going to stay home and play with my Wii."

"Would you like to play with my Wii?"

"I got a black one!"

And so on. Weird name, great innovation. Finally, I can act out pretending to swing a sword at people! Not only does the Wii have its Virtual Console, where you can play vintage Nintendo games, but there's backwards compatibility with the Gamecube, pretty much rendering it obsolete.

I remember my desperate search to find one around my birthday. After weeks of failure looking around at all game stores on the Island, I turned to eBay. Mistake, as I learned that it's possible to be able to automatically raise one's bid whenever you put one in. It was kind of like that old kid's book where this kid wins a counting contest by using a Magic Apple add "And One More" to whatever the story's villain, a Wizard, was able to count to. So whenever I bid something like "270," I was immediately beaten by "271.50." Expletives followed every time.

Finally, in March, another friend of mine (who has also started a blog here) just happened to work at a Gamestop and gave me a tip on when a shipment was coming in. Three or so hours I waited, but I got one. I missed the first 1/2 hour of an important class that I ended up getting a C+ in, but it was worth it.

My only games for it so far are Brawl and Mario Kart. They are both worth it. I'm aiming for Super Mario Galaxy & Super Paper Mario soon. Sorry, I just loves me my Mario games.

"Weird Al" Yankovic: I couldn't let the W entry go by without mentioning this guy. I love him, he's pretty much my favorite musician out there. Why do I love him so? Hmm.

It may be due to him always keeping fresh with his material. He manages to write hilarious parodies of songs that will no doubt last beyond the shelf life of the song being parodied. He has turned "Beat It" into "Eat It," "Bad" into "Fat," "Ridin' Dirty" into "White & Nerdy," and "Jeopardy" into "I Lost on Jeopardy." Trust me, that last parody was completely different than the original, while also being hilarious.

Don't worry, he has a slew of original stuff as well. One of his most notable is the 11 minute "Albuquerque" from his "Running With Scissors" album.

I know people in my age group love to say it, but it qualifies as "Epic." It's one thing to marvel at Al recording it in the first place, it's even more impressive watching it live. Which I have watched him do twice.

If you should see one live music show, let it be him. I guarantee a great time. Lots of great, funny songs, lots of costume changes, and a good number of stuff shown on giant screens hovering above the stage. When "White & Nerdy" was performed, he came out on stage riding a Segway. That was pretty awesome, even more so considering the venue I saw him at had a rotating stage. Speaking of concerts, he's coming back to LI on July 10 at the former "Westbury Music Fair," and guess who wants to see him?

Yes, me. One detail I must add, I recently got an official deal off of Live Nation for a group discount. If I rope 3 more people in to see him, I could get 4 tickets for $146! That's $36.50 a person, which is a tremendous bargain considering that the venue is charging about $51 a person, after adding taxes & processing fees.

Weird Al single-handedly made the accordion awesome, an instrument labeled "lame" before he came along. Now all we need to do is convince people that Oboes are cool...

White Castle: Nor can I let this entry end without mentioning this. I spilled my love of the Castle back in This Entry, but in lieu of repeating it, I have a different topic at hand.

It seems that Tim, the very same one I mentioned earlier, read it and told me that I had missed an important detail: I never described what White Castle's food tasted like.

That's a good question. It's been a short while since I ate there, but I can pluck the memory out of my head. It's probably how they cooked, but they tasted like meat, with onions, and the grease that they're grilled on. Add the bun to that, and you got a yummy combo that I can't really describe. Plus, the burger is done in two bites so you can't really grasp on the flavor for long. That's why you always get it in multiples of how many your arms can carry.

We only have 3 letters left to go! Dang, I kind of don't want this to end.

Why? No, wait, that's Saturday. Nevermind.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

V Dubs, Ja.

V is a letter that just seems...odd. Not like X odd, W odd, or even L odd, but odd. Back in Roman times and in tiny fonts at the end of movie credits, V signified the number "5." Whenever you see "I.V." together, do you mean the medical stuff, or the number 4? So the word "Shiv"...would it be pronounced "Shiv" or "Shore?" I prefer "Shiv," it's more awesome that way. Unless you're on the business end of it, then it'll suck.

V can mean a few other different things. It's the Peace Sign, it's pointing down, it can win a fight with [] but not O, and you can put it on someone's head to ruin a picture.

Obviously, I can't of anything else that's funny to say about V. Here are some words that start with it.

Vault: One of my favorite sodas ever. It's green, its addictive, and its delicious. I don't remember what exactly turned me onto this drink, but I'm glad I found it. I remember watching it on the WB11 Morning News about how it was like the love-child of a soda and an energy drink, but costing the same as a Coke (it was made by Coke, after all). That sold me, as I found it in the St. Joe's Cafeteria's soda cabinet later that day. To this day I credit myself for starting the Vault craze at my college, as I was the first person that I noticed to actually try it. Within days, I saw several people hooked on it. Now look at grew up so much.

People have asked me why I love Vault so much but despise Mountain Dew, which looks exactly the same. My answer: I have no clue. Do they have similar tastes? It still won't spin me towards dewing the Dew, but I'd like to be filled in on this.

Vault even has a brother, Red Blitz, which is also delicious. It's red and has a berry flavor, unlike Vault's Green Citrus. The discovery of Red Blitz also led to my obsessively collecting Coke Points due to a little label on the bottle that read "COLLECT 8 CAPS FOR A FREE VAULT!" And so I did. I'm 50 caps away from that Coke Machine, whose offer will probably expire before I obtain them. Either that, or the "Machine" is the size of a keychain, which would suck.

You should have seen my reaction upon discovering Vault in can form. Any version of Vault beyond 20oz Bottles is a rare find, and Canned Vault is one of my favorite forms of the drink. I swear, it's as if Coke managed to successfully create Slurm. It's that awesome. I'm not even going to describe the inevitable orgasm I had when I discovered it in Fountain form at a White Castle. That's for your mind to decipher, which I hope that the image is already horribly embedded in.

Vault also has the claim of being the reincarnation of Surge, a similar drink from the 90s. I missed this one on the first go-around, seeing as I was in Elementary School at the time and wasn't a big soda chugger back then. Remember, "Reincarnation" is different from a "Resurrection." A Resurrection is more like the next entry.

Vanilla Coke: Huzzah! When this drink was taken off the shelf in 2005, Vault took its place as Top Soda in my book. But now it's back, and it, Vault, and Red Blitz now share a sexy three-way for the #1 Caffeine Injection. This drink is...amazing.

Sure, Coke & Pepsi have had their share of Soda gimmicks, like Cherry, Lemon, Lime, Diet, Low Carb, Clear, Black Cherry, Splenda, New, Zero. But Vanilla was by far the best one. People have been adding Vanilla to their soda for years, but it took til 2002 for Coke to finally have that idea put into production. A detail to note: Pepsi didn't come out with Pepsi Vanilla at the same time to begin the argument of which came first. Pepsi instead introduced the now-gone Pepsi Blue to compete with Vanilla Coke. I'd talk about the awesomeness of Pepsi Blue, but the P entry was last week and I completely forgot about this drink. Maybe some other time.

Pepsi Blue was later shelved in favor of the expected competition that was Pepsi Vanilla in 2003. As a frequent drinker of Coke and Pepsi, along with their Vanilla Brethren, I can perfectly describe the differences in the tastes (yes, there is one). Vanilla Coke was an odd mix of both Coke and Vanilla, with their powers combining to form a tasty Megazord of sorts. I'd say Voltron, but you need 5 flavors for that one, and sodas don't usually have a Torso flavoring. That's Dr. Pepper's job. Pepsi Vanilla, on the other hand, somehow managed to taste like Pepsi, with Vanilla in it. It's like first "Mmm...Pepsi!" Then "OMG, VANILLA!" then "Pepsi...again." Repeat until you suck out the last droplets of the bottle. I thought both sodas were excellent.

Sadly, unlike Coke's revival of the Vanilla, Pepsi ended up shelving theirs for some reason. The Diet version still exists, but I'm not going anywhere near that crap. That's a Mom Drink if you ask me.

Venture Bros.: One of my favorite cartoons on the air right now. What started out as an adult parody of Johnny Quest, has ballooned into an awesome canon in its own right, parodying the Superhero/Adventurer genre as a whole. To Geek out...well, you just have to watch it to really know. It's a show that basically played out like this:

Lame Super Scientist Dad, Hunky Killer Bodyguard & Two Dorky Kids go out on adventures and face off with random enemies, space aliens, and Monarch Butterfly-Themed Supervillains. The general feel is if a show like Johnny Quest took place in reality. There's the ridiculous notion with Supervillains having lame names, but there's always more to them than meets the eye. Anything that seems arbitrary or completely dumb always has a deeper plot or interesting story to go behind it.

The show's main antagonist, The Monarch, is a prime example. At face value, he seems to be a show's obligatory "Lame Supervillain That Makes The Other Supervillains Look Better," but as the series progressed, it's been the total opposite. He may seem demented, but he's also human. He's capable of love, he feels pain, he knows when something's lame and when the time to strike is. He even made my Top 50 Greatest Villains List. Part 1, anyway. Expect the other 3 parts when this whole "Things That Start With ___" debacle is over.

No other show would've made two random Henchman into full-fleshed and interesting characters. One is a fat nerd that got kidnapped at age 15, the other a tall lame man with sex issues who sounds like Ray Romano. The same goes to two characters known as the "Murderous Moppets," who seem to be random sidekicks to Dr. Girlfriend (now married to the Monarch), but as Season 3 has been progressing, there seems to be a deeper, hidden agenda to them.

The other villains on the show are especially lame. Taking a cue from shows like The Tick (where the show's creators were writers on), the entire premise of a villain is based on their name. The Mad Fop, Sgt. Hatred, The Intangible Fancy, Truckules, The Zoocreeper, Dr. Killinger, Crime-o-Dile, King Gorilla, Helicoptro, and such. This is all thanks to the organization that the villains belong to, The Guild of Calamitous Intent. It's how The Legion of Doom would fair in the real world, being a bureaucratic organization more in tune with keeping the status quo between heroes a& villains and less angled towards world domination.

I can't really say much more of this show unless you watch it. It's one of those shows where it won't make sense unless you watch every episode thanks to the 2nd & 3rd seasons. The First Season has an easier job, you could easily tune into any episode aside from the last 4 and still know what's going on. Each passing episode writes a new page in the ongoing story. Each week saying to yourself "What's gonna happen next," while delivering hilarity and geekish awesomeness.

Watch this preview of Season 3 and see what I mean:

Four episodes into Season 3 and I can officially tell you that yes, it has put out. I'm also a member of the "Shirt of The Week Club," where Astrobase Go releases a new T-Shirt each week that relates to that week's episode. I've only ordered the shirt from Week One, which has the logo of The Guild of Calamitous Intent on it. It's in the mail as we speak.

VH-1: MTV's retarded stepbrother. Back in the day when it too used to play music, it was an inferior copy of MTV's once greatness. Once MTV went "Reality!" where they used nobodies to host & star in every show, VH-1 took it one step further. All of their shows star nobodies that used to be somebodies. For some reason, that makes their shows slightly better. Slightly.

What I'm typing about for this channel is its "I Love The ___" Series, where washups from the respective decade that is being snarked on and unfunny comics that will work for the least amount of money possible remember stuff that happened years ago. Their pay is roughly the same amount as hiring R. Lee Ermey to open an envelope.

It started all fine with "I Love The 80's," which was great since they managed to get several 80s celebs, and the snarking was justified. Plus, a lot of cool stuff happened in those 10 years. The production values were made on the fly, commentators that we haven't heard of until those specials, and learning about how to cheat at Rubix Cubes. I'm dead set that this special is what kicked off that whole "80's Nostalgia Trend" of '03-'06.

Because that series was a hit, they made a 2nd special, but about the 70's. Different decade, different topics, different celebs. Problem: most of the great commentators from the first special were either toddlers or not born yet during that decade. Kelly Rowland, I'm looking in your direction. Thanks to Soleil Moon Freye in the original series, we learned that you were born in 1981. What the hell were you doing in the 1970 retrospective raving about Snuffy? Plus, one of the regulars was a monkey. What the Vuck? Then again, it was the 70s, and Random Monkeys were all the rage.

Since everyone watched that one too, but admitted that it wasn't as good as the 80s one, they made a Second "I Love The 80's" special, and then a Third. These were actually good, but nowhere near as awesome as the original.

And then went and made a 2nd "I Love the 70's," which was somehow worse than the first one. What was the point of "Who's Got A Farrah Do," but "Burt Reynold's Mustache" sort of cancels it out.

After those, there were two specials about the 90's. Which is fine except they were done in 2005 & 06, not long after the 90's ended. Why didn't they save it

But both of those specials were good in themselves, especially compared to what they're running now: "I Love New Millennium." Yes, the snark is back but...why now? The decade isn't even over yet! And even then, why are we waxing nostalgic about Glitter NOW? Isn't this what "Best Week Ever" is for? For E-List comics needing work to snark in real time so we wouldn't have to do this?

But you have to admit...what if they do snark on '08 and '09? This special was recorded well in advance, well before the stuff that happened in the last 6 months occurred. It would be kind of freakishly interesting for them to "remember" stuff that hasn't happened yet. And due to this pre-emptive snarking, it will cause a rift in time, causing those things to not happen. And we were SO dead set on Head-Copters being a 3-week fad next September. Thanks a bunch, Rich Eisen.

Only V more letters to go counting this one! I should stop writing these at 2am, my creativity seems to wane around that time.

(EDIT: This post happen to be post #L. Only L more to 100!)

That old-school Viacom logo was creepy as hell, wasn't it? Not as bad as DiC's but still pretty freaky.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


We now come to the last of the Major Vowels, U. U is a weird letter. It's one half of a W, which in this font, looks like a Double V, but it doesn't have the same ring to it I guess. It's also a letter used to abbreviate "You," especially when someone is in love, or needs to save space on those little heart-shaped tums that say "Hug Me" one them.

Here are some words that start with U.

Unwrapped: One of my favorite shows on Food Network. Mark Summers (of Double Dare fame!) narrates how several kinds of food are made. From the inspiration, to the tour of the factory, to it winding up on your plate, the show left no stone unturned. From Summer Food, to Fast Food, to Ice Cream, to BBQ, to condiments, to Food of The Future, Country Cooking, Comfort Food, Hot Dogs, Doughnuts, etc. Every genre of food production is covered.

The fact that Mark Summers hosts the show in the first place is one of its main draws. For those of you wondering where the hell he went after he jumped ship at Nick when Double Dare & "What Would You Do?" ended, here's your answer. He's kind of like the Mr. Conductor of Food production, if you will. He hosts the entire show in the confine of a fake diner, with possible fake food that served the episode's theme served in front of him. It's not really known that Mark is obsessive compulsive, so it makes sense. Have you watched and episode and see him actually try to grab the food that wasn't on cutlery? I don't think so.

UHF: A favorite movie of mine, and it was made by Weird Al to boot! This 1989 movie stars Weird Al as George Newman, a man with a lot of imagination but no job stability. When he gains control of a small UHF TV station won by his uncle in a Poker game, he fills the programming with all sorts of crazy crap to make it the #1 station in town. Channel 8, a network affiliate (possibly Fox), gets wind of this and tries to shut them down. Also, Weird Al's Uncle attempts to settle a $10,000 gambling debt from the Mob, but I won't get into its connection to the main plot without spoiling anything more.

Besides being the only movie to actually star Weird Al, it also featured before-they-were-famous performances by both Michael "Kramer" Richards and Fran "Fucking Annoying Helium Voice" Drescher, not to mention roles filled by Gedde Wantanabe (Long Duck Dong from 16 Candles), Billy Barty (famous midget) and John Paragon (Jambi The Genie!).

I don't know why I love it so much. Perhaps it's Weird Al, he makes anything instantly better. It's probably the plot, which is dumb, but oddly captivating. Will the good guys win? What will Weird Al parody next? What silly will Michael Richards do next? This happens to be the movie that gave us the Twinkie-Weiner Sandwich, The Wheel of Fish, Drinking from "THE FIRE HOSE!" and the scene where Raul teaches Poodles how to "fly." It's also said that the "Burger World" that Beavis & Butt-Head work at was directly inspired from this movie.

Perhaps it is this:

So much of a missed opportunity to not mention "Spatula" 27 times. I counted it being seen & heard a total of 24 times.

Uncle John's Bathroom Reader: I love this series of books so much. They are named such because a vast majority of them are the size & weight of bricks. To tell you the truth, many "real" books bore the hell out of me. But give me one of these and I'll be enamored for weeks.

The draw of these books is its Useless Facts. The 50+ books in the series tell you about anything & everything. This is most evident in "Uncle John's Bathroom Reader About Anything & Everything." Even though a majority of the books are a collection of random topics, several books have specific themes ranging from Hollywood, The Universe, Love, History, The Presidents, Christmas, Dogs, even National Parks. There's a topic for everyone.

There seems to be a new edition out every few months, with the most recent being "The Golden Plunger Awards," detailing competitions and such. It's a good sign that I'll eventually pick it up when the first topic is about Competitive Eating.

This segues into the book I have: Uncle John's Bathroom Reader "Extraordinary Book of Facts & Bizarre Information." I love Useless Facts. They're like normal facts...but serve minimal purpose. It's only real purpose seems to be helping one win trivia contest, get famous on Jeopardy, and amaze your girlfriend who exasperatedly responds "why do you know this?" to, you.

Someone has to know these facts, and I think they're all fascinating. For instance "#" is actually called an Octothorpe. It's derived from the Norse word for villiage "Thorpe," with the symbol originally describing a village on a map with eight fields surrounding it. Yep. I have no idea who named it "The Pound Sign," nor where that person got inspired to call it such.

Major Vowels sounds like a good band name, doesn't it?

"Shut it, Umberto!"

Monday, June 23, 2008

7 Words...

A perfect day got derailed for me.

I was all set to be happy and fun, when I look at Fark to find that George Carlin died.

I'm saddened to the point where I have to make a frowny face about that. :(

He was one of the greatest comics to ever live...but I'll admit that I'm only young enough to see his stuff as a bitter old man, and not the comedy genius that he was. I know how influential he was, but he was such in a different generation than mine.

He was the second Mr. Conductor on the 90's children's show "Shining Time Station," which introduced Thomas The Tank Engine to the United States. Why he would do a children's show at all confuses the hell outta me, but it was fun to watch him attempt to get through an episode without saying one of the 7 Words You Can't Say on TV.

I still have several Thomas videos where Carlin was narrating. "LOOK OUT PERCY, YOU STUPID PRICK!" Or some sort. Subtly hilarious footage.

Those 7 Words happen to be Piss, Fuck, Tits, Motherfucker, Cocksucker, Shit & Cunt. I know the list doesn't "gel" as well as Carlin put it, but I'm not George, and I'm not dead.

I know for a fact that it's now completely normal to say Piss & Tits on TV, and it's all thanks to South Park that we've heard the other 5 uncensored.

The Money is hidden under a Big T

T is somewhat an important letter. It starts and ends a good number of words. It's also the letter that set off this whole "Things That Start With ___" craze into motion. Thank you doho...I know you never thought It'd balloon out into the clusterfuck that it became.

Here are some things that start with T.

The: It's one of the most important words out there. It's declarative in the finest sense, it tells us what something is. "The Blog," "The Paper," "The Toilet," and "The Pill." Gary Gulman had a good set about "The Pill." Everyone knew just what I was referring to with "The Pill" as opposed to all those other phrases I mentioned. That's how important it seemingly is. "It can make you not pregnant? THAT'S The Pill!"

There are some instances where adding "The" to a word that doesn't need it becomes hilarious. A good example is "The Grimace," as in "nothing can kill The Grimace." On the opposite end of the spectrum is adding "The" to a TV show that doesn't have "The" in its name just makes you stupid.

IT'S "FAMILY GUY," NOT "THE FAMILY GUY!" Do you see its logo?

Do you see "The" in that logo at all? No, you don't. It's not even in that little TV. Saying "The Family Guy" makes you an ignorant douchebag and allows all of us to taunt you for saying such.

Thirteen Ghosts of Scooby-Doo: My favorite incarnation of the Scooby-Doo universe It's also one of the shortest-lived of any of his series, with only 13 episodes. The gang this time around consists of Scooby, Shaggy, Scrappy, Daphne, and Flim-Flam (a "cute little wisecracking orphan kid"), as they try to capture the Thirteen Ghosts that have been freed from the Demon Chest. Also, Vincent Price stars as the wizard "Vincent van Ghoul."

Out of the 13 episodes, only 11 ghosts were ever caught. The first episode set all the monsters free, and another episode where the ghosts were set free again. That means there's two other Ghosts still out there waiting to be captured. This in particular inspired a great idea for a story that I haven't written yet, so don't steal it from my dreams. Doing such qualifies one as a pervert.

What sets this show apart from the other Scooby shows is that it doesn't follow the standard plot of "Hippies find fake monster haunting some random location." The ghosts and monster featured in this series are all real, and you can die in this show, as well as break the fourth wall.

It's also the only Scooby-Doo series to NOT have a DVD release at all. There's like 14 shows with "Scooby-Doo" in the title, and 13 of them have seen a DVD release of some kind. They even released DVDs of The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour and The Richie Rich/Scooby-Doo Show. I haven't heard of those either, but they got DVD releases before this one did.

Travel Channel: One of my favorites to watch. It's a channel with shows about...travelling. Whether it be around the country, or around the world, if it's not your house, it goes there. Although it also showcases "The World Poker Tour" for some reason, although I am relieved to discover that they recently finally moved it to Game Show Network.

One of my favorite shows to watch are "No Reservations," a travelogue show starring Anthony Bourdain (think Alton Brown, except filthier and more smarmy) where he goes to the more "out there" regions of the world and brightens them up with his disgustingly humorous insight. The episode where he goes to Las Vegas is a favorite of mine.

Another great one was "Great Hotels," where Samantha Brown went and reviewed the best rooms in all the greatest hotels around the world. And that's it. All she did was stay in the best room in the house (probably comped by the network), tell us how awesome it was, and maybe see some of the sights. You're probably not surprised that my favorite episodes were the ones where she stayed at DisneyWorld, Vegas, and HersheyPark. And Samantha just had to ruin it when she went on to be in shows were she actually did stuff and not spend a half-hour staring at the ceiling of the lobby and pretending to sleep in the comfy beds.

There's also their little romps describing Food Joints around the country/world, usually in the form of Top 10 Lists. They've had shows detailing the 10 most unique McDonald's Around The World, the 10 Most Unique Fast Food Places In The World (#1 was a Wendy's in Alaska that's North Pole themed 24/7), pizza joints, ice cream shops, burger places, etc. My favorite of these is a list called "Top 10 Places To Pig Out," with 10 restaurants in the USA that have deliciously large portions of food and/or unusual eating contests of some sort, or at least taking place at the time of filming. They air this at least once every 2 months, and I always manage to find and watch it.

What's been pissing me off about this network is that earlier this month, all of the channels owned by Cox Networks (which seems to hold all channels involving or spun-off from Discovery Channel except for Food Network) had ceased working on my TV, and must be paid for unless you have a digital cable box, which there is in my living room. My question is: Why? All of my background fodder, all of my mindless hotel reviewing, all of the Food! Gone! Sob.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: I don't think I need to explain what this is or how awesome it was. Mikey was always my favorite turtle, and may have inspired my love of the color Orange.

Back when I was young, I had TMNT Fever. No, it wasn't cured with More Cowbell, but rather another craze to take its place, which ended being a combo of Power Rangers and Transformers. I had TMNT Everything. And I mean everything. The action figures, the playsets, the cassettes of the episodes, the movies, posters, Ninja Turtle chairs, Ninja Turtle Mugs, Ninja Turtle bedsheets, TMNT PJs, Ninja Turtle Welcome Mat, TMNT Waste Paper Basket. Etc and all that, I still have most of them. I even ate the magnificent TMNT Pudding Pies. I remember how it tastes, too. It tasted sugary with lots of green. In other words, I can't really describe it, you just had to be there.

I had many of the side figures & variants, like the Football & Astronaut Turtles, the Movie figures, even the transforming figures. At first they had the Turtles where you could change them from regular Turtle to Ninja form, Splinter from Rat to Sensei, Shredder with and without his armor, Bebop & Rocksteady to humans, and Foot Soldier to Robot. Then came versions where they transformed into vehicles, with Splinter having the distinction of turning into the Turtle Van. But out of all the figures, I never had Krang with the Robot Body. I only had Krang with the Walker.

But I don't care what you had, I had the Turtle Blimp, so there.

"Morbo can't understand his teleprompter. He forgot that letter that looks like a man wearing a hat."
"It's a T. It goes 'Tuh.'"
"Hello little man...I WILL DESTROY YOU!!"

Sunday, June 22, 2008

S and More Different S!

You know, I realized something earlier today: I've miscounted days. Yes, I've been saying that the Z entry will be posted on June 30th. What I didn't anticipate was how the damn calendar would play out. I started the A entry back on the 4th. On the B entry the next day, I said I'd continue to Z on the 30th. It seems that I must have counted the A blog along with that total, because 26 days including June 4th isn't June 30th, it's June 29. Daily blogging might end, but it'll be back to the "Whenever The Hell I Feel Like It" status that it was.

To distract you from this grim finding, here are some things that start with S.

Spaceballs: Everyone has at least one movie where they have to stop whatever they're doing, unplug the phone, close the curtains, tape the dog's mouth shut and watch it whenever it comes on TV. It doesn't matter if the TV version is horribly edited and they have every version of the movie that's been released on DVD and such, the whole goddamn world will stop spinning if they don't take the time to watch it because it seems so awesome. My such movie happens to be this one.

A Mel Brooks classic released in 1987, its the famous bona fide parody of Star Wars. The movie also parodies the likes of Star Trek, Alien, Planet of The Apes, and the Sci-Fi genre itself.

The Spaceballs' planet has run out of air, so they must steal it from the neighboring peace-loving planet Druidia, but not if our bumbling heroes have anything to say about it. The Spaceballs are headed by Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis as the movie's Darth Vader parody) and President Skroob (Mel Brooks) along with Col. Sandurz, and a crew that shares the surname "Asshole." Then we have our protagonists: The Han Solo/Luke Skywalker Archetype (Lone Starr, played by a before-he-was-slightly-famous Bill Pullman!), the Chewbacca parody (Barf, a Mawg played by the awesome John Candy), the Druish Princess (Princess Vespa, played by Daphne Zuniga), the Droid (Dot Matrix, who has the voice of Joan Rivers), and the Yoda-like mentor Yogurt (Mel Brooks again), who teaches Lone Starr the ways of The Schwartz (which is completely different from The Force). Oh, there's also appearances by John Hurt from Alien, Micheal Winslow, Jim J. Bullock, Dick Van Patten and Dom DeLuise as mobster Pizza The Hutt.

An excellent before its time moment comes in the form of an "Instant Cassette," which shows the Spaceballs the entire movie before it's released, fast forwarding up to the point that they were currently at for some added surrealism. There's also Yogurt's insistence with merchandising, as "that's where the real money is made." He features Spaceballs The Coloring Book, Spaceballs: The Doll, Spaceballs: The Lunchbox, and Spaceballs: The Flamethrower (kids love that one). Be sure to spot "Spaceballs: The Bedsheet" and "Spaceballs: The Place Mat" later on in the movie.

What I love most about this movie is how insanely quotable it is. Not only is every piece of dialogue hilarious, I find myself quoting it at least once a day.

"Ludicrous Speed! GO!"

"I'm a Mawg: Half man, Half dog. I'm my own best friend."

"What's the matter Col. Sandurz? Chicken?"

"I can't make decisions, I'm a president!"

"Funny, she doesn't look Druish."

"I bet she gives great helmet."

"That was my Virgin Alarm. It's programmed to go off before you do!"

"I see your Schwartz is as big as mine!"

"You call this a radar?!"
"No, sir, we call it...Mr. Coffee."

"When will it be now?"

"They've gone to plaid!"

"I am your father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate!"

You might have noticed that yesterday's closing line was also a Spaceballs quote. It's the cap of one of my favorite scenes, where the Spaceballs' radar is literally jammed by Lone Starr, and features Micheal Winslow playing the sound effects of the radar himself. Hilarious and needs to be seen if not seen already.

Super Mario RPG: One of the greatest games Nintendo ever made. Released for the SNES near the end of its run, it broke the mold on the classic Mario Genre. Three dimensions? In MY Mario game? It was more likely than you thought. It's also the first Mario game to be RPG based, but there's plenty of platforming and puzzle solving to keep one satisfied.

It also has one of the better stories in a Mario game: When Bowser kidnaps Princess Toadstool...again, and Mario comes to her rescue...again, a giant Sword drops down from the sky and scatters our heroes and villain across the Mushroom Kingdom. Of course, the villain is an evil machine king named Smithy who wishes to gain the Seven Stars from the Star Road (where all wishes are granted) in order to rule the world. You (as Mario & Co.) then set out to get the Seven Stars before he does. It also marks the first game where Bowser joins you good-guy team (or, how he puts it, you join him), and where Princess Toadstool first really kicks some ass. Ever wonder where Peach's Frying Pan used in Smash Bros. is from? Here. You're also joined by Mallow, a puffball who uses weather attacks, and Geno, a spirit inhabiting a doll that uses gun attacks. I won't reveal any more of the plot, but it pretty much kicks ass.

Along the course of the game, you face several enemies so awesome and unique, but were sadly never seen again. There are several familiar enemies returning as well, such as Goombas, Pirahna Plants, Spinys, Chomps, Bob-Ombs, Shy Guys, Snifits, Bullet Bills, Hammer Bros, Magikoopa, Birdo, Bloopers, even Donkey Kong. The only major Mario enemy to not appear in this game? Koopa Troopas. Sure, we got Paratroopas, Fat Paratroopas, and Dry Bones, but not the normal type of Koopa Troopa. Later RPG games would fortunately correct this.

I can't talk about this game without mentioning its awesome soundtrack. The Midas River, The Pipe Maze, the Boss Music, Bowser Castle, Booster Tower, The Final Battle(s), even the overworld music kicked ass. Most of the music in general was derived from the classic Super Mario Bros music, but arranged in different fashions. There was even a place where you could compose your own music, with a little challenge derived from inputting several songs that you hear along your quest. This is by far the game's most famous song:

The theme to the Forest Maze aka "Beware The Forest's Mushrooms." Named such because eating certain ones found in the Forest Maze in battle would turn you into a mushroom. This status condition sucked, you couldn't do anything except heal HP.

The game was made by Squaresoft before merging to form Square-Enix to produce the rest of the Final Fantasy Games elsewhere, and in turn owns the original characters seen in the game. It explains why Geno, Mallow, Smithy, Booster and This Guy were never seen in Brawl, or any other game since. It's also why we never got a true sequel to the game, nor a release on the Wii's Virtual Console...yet. Thankfully, it's confirmed for a Japan Release later this month, so a US version is hopefully on its way.

I remember being decent at it when it was first released, but gradually got better. I remember it took me months to figure out how to ram the doors to the chapel in Marrymore. I hated that part. When I finally beat the game, I ended up winning on a fluke, with a few freebie Red Essences (made you invulnerable for 3 turns) saving my ass from instant death. I had it easier the second time around a few years later. When viewing youtube vids of each battle...I realized I sucked at it. I'd definitely be better at it now. When is that VC release coming?!

The closest things we ever got to a sequel were the Paper Mario series and Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. Speaking of Superstar Saga, I've been trying to track down a copy of it since I wrote the K entry. Any leads to a pak needing a home will be greatly appreciated.

Super Mario World: Every Nintendo system has its Signature Mario Platformer, upon which all subsequent games on said system would be judged upon. This game was for the SNES, but unlike RPG, it was one of the very first ones released.

The plot for this one? Bowser kidnaps Princess Toadstool, Mario goes to save him, you battle 7 bosses, etc. But it's the journey that was awesome instead of the destination. Although the final battle with Bowser was pretty awesome. It's the first game where Bowser rides around in his Flying Clown Car and the only one that I'm aware of where you battle him as he rides it. It's also one of the few games to feature the Koopalings as the Seven Bosses. Major firsts for this game include Cape Mario (obtained by getting a Super Feather), the ability to hold objects, using a Key to find an alternate exit, Koopas getting their shells knocked off, the first Mario game with awesome graphics & backgrounds, and is the first game to feature Yoshi.

Basically, all of the awesome elements that you see in present Mario games that weren't introduced in the three previous Super Mario games began in this one. Like Super Mario RPG, there was never a true sequel made for this game either. Sure, Yoshi's Island was given the title of "Super Mario World 2," but let's face it, it's a completely different game. An awesome game, but much different than its predecessor.

I got my SNES a few years into its run, and mine came bundled with the rare Super Mario All-Stars + Super Mario World combo game. I remember actually beating this game, as I'm usually either too crappy at it or had no patience to get to the end of it. It's one of the first Mario games where the game isn't done when you beat the final boss. You also must beat the Star Road, which is accessed by the Stars in the overworld. When you beat THAT level, you move on to Special World. Every stage in that world was named after 90's surfer slang like "Gnarly," "Tubular," and "Way Cool." Once you beat Special World, the game makes a complete change. The environment is now Autumn themed as opposed to Summer, and the enemies are slightly different. The Goombas wear Mario Masks, Koopa Shells are now Pumpkins, and the Pokeys are different colors.

Since the game has been around for so long, it's been the subject of several upon several game mods that fit the designer's own sick visions. This one in particular is a favorite of mine, where the stage and every action is perfectly synced to a medley of Japanese Pop Songs:

Steve: My real first name. It's obvious to see why it's a favorite letter of mine, as I have to write that letter every goddamn day of my life. The name is Greek for "Garland or Crown" and a man with the names "thrives on innovation and fast forward thinking." This is all from one of those hokey "What Does Your Name Mean?" certificates that I got from my parents as a Christmas gift a few years back.

I believe that the name Steven (or any variation thereof) is name symbolizing power, and many famous Steves are famous geeks and nerds. My best friend is also named Steve (weird coincidence), and together we form Steve Squared (a name not coined by me).

To prove that my name is awesome, here is a list of other famous Steves:

Steve Carrell
Stephen Colbert
Steve Jobs
Steven Spielberg
Steve Irwin
Steve Urkel (and his smooth alter-ego Stefan Arquel)
Stephen Lynch
Steven Wright
Stevie Wonder
Steve Martin
Steve Buscemi
Steve Harvey
Steve Allen
Stone Cold Steve Austin
Steve Forbes
Stephen King

Need I argue? I'm quite happy that I fulfill the average classroom's Steve Quota. There should always be a Steve in every classroom. In my schooling experiences, it's usually me.

"I love the Sexy Slither of a Sultry female Snake."~Barry White

Saturday, June 21, 2008

This Pirate Blog is Rated "Arrr"

We come to the first of the Trio of Important Letters Near The End of The Alphabet of R, S and T. Today we focus on the letter R.

R is for Readers, which are many, as it seems. Thursday happened to be my best day ever, with 106 visits and 163 page views. I may say this often, as every week or so there seems to a new Best Day Ever, and each one becomes the New Minimum upon which all proceeding days will be judged. And usually after each Best Day Ever, the number of views seem to be nowhere near that good, despite being one of the only blogs on my blogroll with daily updates (which will thankfully end with the Z entry). I've thought that the entry for P would get more responses than it did (currently 0 as of writing this entry).

I get kind of sad that none of my usual blogs have been updated for at least two days, but I must be upping their view count when I obsessively check each and every one of them at least 10 times a day.

Here are some other things that start with R.

Ribs: Especially in Baby Back form. They are among one of my favorite foods ever. Some people wonder why people go through so much work for the "little meat" on both Ribs and Chicken Wings, but the work, if done right, always pays off. It's all a matter of both quality and quantity when it comes to these kinds of foods. Ribs were originally the "Junk Part" of the pig that was given to slaves way back when, but thanks to their intuition and patience, smoking the meat for a long time made it taste really damn good. When Ribs are good, they're awesome, and when they're'll know.

Baby Backs are smaller ribs with less meat than others, but you get more of them per rack and they're the most common form that you find in restaurants. My other favorite kind are St. Louis Ribs, which are larger and have more meat on them. They come in either "wet" or "dry" varieties. "Wet" is how one normally would get ribs, with the sauce slathered all over it, causing a big ol' yummy mess before one even takes a bite. "Dry" is prepared basically the same as "wet," only instead of getting sauced, a spice rub is put on the meat shortly before one finishes cooking them. I like this was better for some reason, but my philosophy towards it is "If it's good, who cares?"

My favorite Rib place is a local LI place called Smokin' Als. I haven't been there in a while due to lack of time & money. I also don't try to go there on weekends, as it's a tiny hole-in-the-wall place that fills up to capacity around 5pm, even earlier if there is a concert going on at the nearby YMCA Theater a few doors down the same night.

Robot Chicken: Another favorite show of mine. Co-created by Seth Green, the show is basically a 11-minute sketch show on [adult swim] that skewers all of pop culture, mainly from the 80's. The thing that sets this show apart is that all of the sketches are performed with stop-motion animation, usually involving the original toys based on the subjects getting riffed. If possible, the original voices of their respective characters are tracked down to guest star on the show. We've seen Hulk Hogan, Dom DeLuise, Burt Reynolds, Christian Slater, Mark Hamill, George Lucas, the entire casts of That 70's Show, Family Guy & Buffy, Phyllis Diller, Corey's Haim & Feldman, Conan O'Brien, Pat O'Brien, Don Knotts, John Moschitta, Danny Goldman (Brainy Smurf), several members of the GI Joe cast, and Frank Welker reprising Megatron, Soundwave, and Dr. Claw! That's pretty impressive. The beauty of the show is that the sketches don't last that long, ranging from 5 seconds to the longest clocking in at around 6 minutes. The sketches end up not dragging out, so you don't get too bored of them.

You name something from the 80's, they've made fun of it. I seriously believe that they've riffed almost every cartoon and toy line from that decade. They even made fun of Sectaurs, Turbo Teen, and Defenders of The Earth for crying out loud! That's pretty damn low on the "Obscure 80's Reference" ladder. Frequent subjects include the Thundercats, GI Joe, and Transformers.

I've had most fun introducing this show to others, especially to ones that aren't too familiar with its brand of humor to see their horrified reactions. I call it "De-Pruding."

Rocko's Modern Life: One of the best cartoons that Nickelodeon ever had. It was about a wallaby named Rocko who attempts to live in his insane world with his best friends Heffer (a fat steer who was adopted by a family of wolves) and Filburt (a nerdish, neurotic turtle), his neighbors The Bigheads, and his dog Spunky. Created by Joe Murray and first airing in 1993, it had this outrageous charm that could rarely have been matched. You see, Ren & Stimpy had premiered a few years earlier, and all of the Execs and Soccer Moms were decrying it for its outrageousness. Little did they know that this cartoon did basically the same thing, only its brand of "outrageous" humor was smuggled well below the radar for anyone to actually notice until years later. For instance, in one episode the gang plays the board game "Spank The Monkey," complete with an actual monkey on the game board along with some paddles. Another episode had a crab that yelled a phrase in Spanish that roughly translated to "my ass itches!" Rocko's dog is named Spunky of all things, and once had an intimate relationship with a mop. His favorite hobby is "Jackhammering"...I don't think I need to spoil the innuendo for that one. A reoccurring character was the superhero "Really Really Big Man," whose special powers included his "Nipples of The Future." I don't think I need to explain any more of that.The show would also take infrequent trips to Hell, headed by a black-cloaked demon named "Peaches." The gang's favorite hangout? A restaurant called Chokey Chicken (which was sadly later renamed "Chewy Chicken.") Neutering, nudity, and implied cannibalism were the subject of several jokes during the show's run.

Then there's the Bigheads, who indulge in some bizarre sexual fetishes, including breaking plates with their tongues, turning each other on with fake noses, and one chasing the other around in a giant hamster ball.

The show also had its share of infamous moments, which I like to refer as "moments that the Execs managed to catch." One of these was when Rocko and Heffer took a trip to Rocko's Uncle's Farm, and Heffer is "milked," so to speak. Another is a now-banned episode in which Mrs. Bighead spends the entire episode attempting to seduce Rocko, which also includes a rather gratuitous shot of a giant fly sitting on a toilet.

Rocko is also notable for being one of the first major cartoons featuring the voice work of both Carlos Alazraqui (Rocko, others) and Tom Kenny (Heffer, other various characters), with the cast being rounded out by Doug Lawrence (Filburt, various others) and Charlie Adler (Mr & Mrs. Bighead, Mr. Wolfe, various). If it wasn't for this show, its crew would not have moved on to contribute to Family Guy, Billy & Mandy, Chowder, Spongebob, Camp Lazlo, and Phineas & Ferb, to name a few. They all owe a deep debt of gratitude to this great show, and I am attempting to register its lack of a DVD release as a crime against humanity.

The best episode by far is "Wacky Delly." It aired late in the show's run, but was probably one of the best episodes to ever air on Nickelodeon. You see, the Bigheads have a son named Ralph (voiced by creator Joe Murray) who is a cartoonist. After work is complete on his main show, the Fatheads (a parody cartoon about his parents), he is contractually obligated to produce a pilot for another show. Due to him not wanting to be in the business anymore, he hires Rocko, Heffer, and Filburt to produce the show instead. What they produced was this:

What Ralph thought was the biggest piece of crap that would get him released from his contract, the Execs ended up loving it and the resulting show becomes a major hit. After numerous failed attempts at sabotaging the show, including airing an overexposed episode and an episode consisting only of a 10-minute still shot of a jar of mayonnaise, he realizes that he could produce the show in his own vision. The show is then cancelled mid-episode. I always figured that this episode satirized the animation industry as a whole, especially towards the fate of Ren & Stimpy. "Wacky Delly" was an extraordinary awful idea that became popular, with the Execs only keeping it on because it was popular and made money. I especially link this to Ren & Stimpy as a ten-year flash-forward has Ralph meet up with a fan of "Wacky Delly," who inadvertently refers to him as "that new guy that ruined it."

So, no re-runs from me 'til tomorrow (unless you want to read this again...then by all means scroll up to the top)

"Raspberry! There's only one man who would dare give me the Raspberry...LONE STARR!!"

Friday, June 20, 2008

Q: What Words Start with Q? A:

Way back in the D entry, fellow Blogger friend JoshC had challenged me to words that I can come up with that start with the letter Q. I'll admit, it's a tough letter, it's kind of useless (then again, tell that to Arabic Pronunciation), but there are several words that start with this letter.

So to accept this challenge: Here are words that start with Q.

Quick Stop: The famous convenience store where the movie Clerks is filmed in. Located in Leonardo, New Jersey, Keven Smith was employed there when he was filming the now-famous little movie that could, and shot most of the movie during the nighttime. Since he had a cheap, black-and-white camera, explaining that someone stuck gum in the locks gave a logical explanation about the lack of sunlight in the movie. As far as I know, it's still sitting there! That movie sure got me through High School.

My co-worker Tim and I frequently say "Bunch of savages in this town" whenever something dumb happens during our CVS shifts. He always wanted to go see the actual Quick Stop and buy a pack of gum there.

Quantas: It's an Australian Airline. Why this, you ask? In its ads, it plays an orchestral version of "Land Down Under" in the background. I was going to post a vid of this for the Soundtracks For Summer entry for the song, but two reasons prevented me from doing so:

1) No vid of it is on Youtube
2) I had no idea what the damn Airline was called at the time. A Youtube search for that also yields no results for the song.

Quisp: A fairly obscure breakfast cereal. Released in 1965 with partner Q-related partner cereal Quake by Quaker Oats. The mascot was an alien named...Quisp who advertised his Flying Saucer-shaped cereal, while Quake was a Construction Worker/Cowboy/Aussie who toted around his Sprocket-shaped cereal. Here is what its box looked like:

That random picture is fairly recent, as it looks like the box hasn't changed much in years. It was decided in 1982 that Quisp was more popular than Quake, so it survived and Quake descended into Cereal Hell. Cereal Hell, by the way, includes Crazy Cow, Fruit Brute, Yummy Mummy, the 23 versions of the "Corn Pops" box, the Cocoa Crispies Monkey, all of the Lucky Charms marshmallows that aren't on the box anymore, and the other two bakers from Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Due to low sales, Quisp itself was taken off the shelves in the Mid-80's, then reintroduced and later shelved in the 90's, with a re-reluanch in the last few years that has proved moderately successful. I dare you to try to find it, I've actually managed to find it in a few stores by me. Alas, I've never tried it.

The cereal is probably best known for its old tv ads directed by Jay Ward of Rocky & Bullwinkle fame. Why, here's one now:

Man, did children of the 60's have longer attention spans (and shorter commerical breaks). I'm pretty dead set that it was Daws Butler providing the voice of Quisp.

Quik: Now sadly known as NesQuik. It's Nestle's answer to Yoo-Hoo, or, more likely, the winning combo of Milk + Hershey's Chocolate Syrup. It was an awesome childhood drink that was better when it was a single syllable. Now that "Nes" has been prefixed to the name, it sold out. I have no clue why this name change came to be, I always thought Nestle had copyrighted the name. Seriously, how much fucking time do you actually save by saying "NesQuik" instead of "Nestle's Quik" or just "Quik?" Not much.

This name change has bee especially awkward for the product's mascot, which is a Rabbit that wears a "Q" pendant around his brown neck. Unlike fellow rodent mascot the Trix Rabbit, Quik is for rabbits and usually commercial exploits involve him acquiring Quik for his friends for the NesHoneycomb Hideout or Something. I prefer the Trix Rabbit better, all those kids in the ads were dicks.

Quoting The Simpsons: The real reason why I looked forward to writing up this entry. As you all may know, the Simpsons is my favorite show of all time. Since the show has been around for at least 19 seasons with a grand total of 420 episodes as of this entry, there's been a lot of dialogue. I shame myself by admitting that there are two episodes that I have yet to watch. They happen to be the Season 19 episodes "Apocalypse Cow," and "All About Lisa." Since the latter episode is currently up on Hulu, I still only need to watch that one episode.

As I was saying, the show has been on for so long, there is literally a Simpsons quote for everything. May it be about Former President George HW Bush ("No one-termers!"), Pogs ("Remember ALF? He's back! In Pog form!"), Star Wars ("I bent my Wookie."), Monorails ("Mono means 'one' and Rail mean 'rail.' This concludes our extensive 6-week course."), Bears ("Let the bears pay the Bear Tax! I'll pay the Homer Tax!" "That homeowner's Tax!" "Don't you start!"), Corn ("Oh no, the corn! Paul Newman's gonna have my legs broke!"), Cell Phones ("Hey, he's trying to save you money on long distance!"), Pro-Meat Agendas ("Jimmy, if a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!") or even the Opera ("I've decided to retire from Opera. It's just too popular.").

There are thousands more, and the slightest dumb situation or related quote would trigger a random quote from my memory banks, and I would impulsively speak it aloud. I am honest in which that whenever someone says "Hi, Everbody!" I must instinctively answer "Hi, Dr. Nick!"

My friend Steve and I have these moments constantly, and most of the time we don't even need to say the line out loud to acknowledge what we're implying. ("Imply...or implode?" "Mom, make him stop!") See, it happened again!

There you have it, Josh, some words that start with Q. Personally, I find the letters U, X, and Y to be tougher letters. We'll see what I come up with for those!

"Quoth The Raven: Eat My Shorts."

Thursday, June 19, 2008

P is also for Publicity

Back in the N entry I mentioned attending the Strawberry Shortcake Eating Contest on Father's Day.

I mentioned some of the people that were there, even detailing the performances by Eric "Badlands" Booker and "Beautiful Brian" Seiken.

Including my email address in the same entry seems to have yielded some interesting results. What should I find in my inbox this morning but an email from "Beautiful Brian" himself??

Word for word, here is what he said:

Steve this is Beautifulbrian. Appreciate the writeup on my performance. You have the right to your opinion but if you took the time out to listen to the cd which can be purchased on you would come to realize that there are few 48yr olds that can carry a tune period! , and the songs are quite catchy. If you feel that 10bucks is out of your price range i would be glad to send you a complimentary copy. The screeching voice you heard at mattituck is not the same voice you hear on the cd. Not fair to pre judge something you havent heard .

You know what that means to me?

An actual well-known person has read my blog!! It's a Competitive Eater to boot! Take that, Delilah!

In the words of Steve Martin: I'm somebody now!!

Needless to say, I'm quite amazed that I got a response in the first place. I sent him back a message telling him this fact and that I honestly thought his performance was funny. That song he sang had been stuck in my head for the last few days. I also told him that he had my $10 towards his album.

He then sent me back(!) another message saying that he'll send a copy of his album to me free of charge due to my support of him. Class act is all I have to say about it.

I also asked how he managed to find this blog in the first place, but so far he hasn't given me an answer for that one. (EDIT: A quick Google search for "Beautiful Brian" Seiken shows that this very entry is the 12th hit, while the N entry is nowhere to be found)

Since I promised, go visit him at his myspace page, and his official homepage, and encourage others to do the same.

Here is a vid of him in action as the World Pickle Eating Champion:

(must...avoid...juvenile reference...)

Beaming For Bunnies fully supports "Beautiful Brian" Seiken & "Crazy Legs" Conti.


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.
"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!"