Friday, June 6, 2008

C is for Clinton, that's good enough for me

I decided to change the pace of the titling of my "Things That Start With __" series. I didn't like the prospect of 26 straight entries with the same title, much less the same URL. That gets annoying sometimes when I want to link more than one of these entries elsewhere.

Without further adieu, here are some things that start with C.

Colbert Report: Yes, that amazing Fake News show that follows the Daily Show. Hosted by Stephen Colbert playing "Stephen Colbert," a humorously egotistic, ignorant blowhard pundit that likes "Nailing" people, it took to the airwaves in 2005 to fill the once-dark voided gap that is the post-Daily Show time slot. Sure, "Tough Crowd" did its job for a while, but it got cancelled. It's replacement, "Up Late with Adam Carolla," didn't even last an eight as long. But this spin-off has seemed to have taken the Late Night Comedy shows by storm providing a nice contrast to his "Warm-Up Act" and it seems that it has its mighty lock on the 11:30pm slot. I'll shamefully admit, I tune into this show much more than the Daily Show, but I've been getting back into the 1-2 Punch after the writers came back.

One of the main trademarks is the pronunciation of the show itself. Due to Colbert having a French last name, the "Report" in the title has a silent T like its predecessor, so it's said as "Colber Repor." Fortunately, this is not the only place it's used in the show, as its sports segment "Sport Report" is pronounced as "Spore Repore." I love that so much.

There is so much more I could list about how awesome it is, but for right now I'll mention the "Colbert Bump." It's the sudden surge in popularity one person, object, or news item receives after a mention on the CR. Without it, would anyone of us have heard about Neil deGrasse Tyson, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Barney Frank, Ron Paul, OK GO, Rain or even Mike Huckabee?! Probably not. The bump is how Stephen got a minor league hockey team's mascot, a bridge in Hungary, a female tortoise, and a flavor of Ben & Jerry's ice cream named after him, gave Mike Huckabee any sort of chance in getting double digits in this year's primaries, and have every congressman featured on his "Better Know A District" segment re-elected, including Barney Frank and the one who couldn't name the 10 Commandments.

Today's blog title comes from the show. It was when Stephen was interviewing a former Obama staffer who was fired from the campaign after calling Hillary Clinton a "Monster." He suggests to her "Why not a good monster, like Cookie Monster?"

Cedar Point: My favorite amusement park that I've been to. Taking up an entire peninsula on Lake Erie in Sandusky, Ohio, it's referred to as "America's Roller Coast" due to having the most roller coasters in an amusement, with most of them either record breakers, rare coaster types like the Stand-Up, Wild Mouse and Suspended Coasters or coasters that were the tallest in the world when it opened (no less than 5 of them had this record at one time or another). Their current coaster count is 17, 15 if you don't count the two "kiddie coasters" Jr. Gemini and Woodstock Express. It also holds the distinction of being the largest non-Disney amusement park, the most visited Seasonal Amusement Park in the world, and voted as Best Amusement Park by Amusement Today every year since the magazine began giving out the Golden Ticket awards (10 years!)

I went there back in June of 2003, and as a Coaster Junkie it was a dream come true for me. It was the year Top Thrill Dragster (the Tallest in The World at the time) had just opened and had went through its first "Extended Downtime" the exact week I was there. I was bummed for ten minutes, but I didn't care, I was at Cedar Point and it kicked ass! My favorite coasters from there is a toss up between Millennium Force (the most popular ride in the park, 310 feet tall) and Magnum XL-200 (205 feet tall, rode 5 times). Both of them were awesome and I can't decide at this present time.

I'd give anything to go back there again, my rides on every coaster still resonate in my mind! And if society allowed, I'd cram myself into one of those Kiddy Coaster Simulators at the mall that lets you ride Blue Streak & Gemini, but they just won't be the same.

Carnivals: Kind of like Cedar Point, but much more local and doesn't charge anything to get in. Unfortunately, it shows. Back when I was a kid, I'd always pester my parents to go on the various rides like the Scrambler, the swing ride, the bounce castle, the spinning apples, the lame roller coaster and that old time favorite, the huge-ass slide that could fit 6 people that you slid down using burlap sacks.

As time went on, I found out that there were places much better than the carnival and stopped going on the rides and instead focused on the other stuff it had to offer. A good example are the games. Yes, they're rigged and I knew it, so I didn't play many of them, if not once to see just how rigged they are. I tell you, I hate that "Lob The Monstrously Hard Softball Into a Giant Bucket That's on An Angle" game and I never quite got the point of the one where you used a BB gun to take out a star. But the ones I did love were the Goldfish games (I had won and lost several, but I had a carnival-won one that lasted 9 years), and the Quarter Machines. That's what I called that game where the discs with various prizes spun in a circle and you had to knock the disc in the hole at precisely the right time or else you don't get squat. Frustrating at first, but years of training and a lucky streak netted the ability to be able to land several discs at once and figure out how to hit the "Choice" discs which were half the size.

It just so happens that this is the weekend where the local Greek Orthodox Church runs its annual "Greek Festival" that's right next to the CVS that I work at. This means parking nightmare for a carnival that isn't even that good by Long Island Carnival standards. I decided to say "screw it" and go there on my break on Saturday to get food in lieu of giving up my spot to go to my usual fare.

Chili's: Yes, it's a chain, but it happens to be my favorite. Is it because of the "atmosphere?" No. Is it due to the wacky, kitchsy food items to let you know that there a giant jalapeno peppers everywhere? Hell no. It's the ribs. Yes, I love ribs, and as far as chains go, they have my favorite Baby Backs.

BBQ Sauce. Yes, it's Chain Ribs so you don't get much meat on them, but they make up for it in flavor. There's about 6 variations to choose from, but I get a mix & match of Blazin' Habanero (not that hot, sadly) and Memphis Dry Rub (lots of good spices, but less meat on it than the Habanero one for some reason). I was just there last night and I found out why I like them so much, and it's the dipping sauce that comes with the ribs. Apparently they give you a different dipping sauce with each kind of ribs, and the ones that come with Habanero & Memphis Dry Rub are delicious enough to wonder why Chili's hasn't covered the ribs on that stuff. I can't quite describe the taste but one of the sauces was actually hotter than the Habanero sauce on the ribs itself. I would bottle that stuff and drink it daily. If the place wasn't crowded I would've downed the stuff like a shot. They looked more appetizing than those "funky" margaritas they try to pimp out at you. (Yes, the quotes emphasize the point this time.)

Chowder: There's two subjects that interest me on this word: Chowder the food, and Chowder the cartoon.

I've never tried the food, but the item itself has piqued my interest in the last few months. I know the difference between New England & Manhattan (it's the one with tomatoes), but I wonder how it tastes? Sweet? Meaty? Good? Clams? Anyone out there know so I can finally buy one of those cans of New England that I see on my CVS shelf all the time?

As for Chowder the cartoon, I must say that it's actually pretty excellent. Created by Spongebob and Billy & Mandy storyboard artist and writer CH Greenblatt, the series as a whole depicts the life of Chowder, an apprentice Chef to the great Mung Daal and the crazy universe that they live in. Since the show deals with food, the characters on the show have all been named after various food items, such as our protagonist, his master Mung Daal, his wife Truffles, the rock monster Schnitzel, Gazpacho the food vendor, and so on. The animation is superb, and I love its voice cast: John DiMaggio (Schnitzel), Tara Strong (Truffles), Dana Snyder (aka Master Shake as Gazpacho), Mindy Sterling (Ms. Endive, Mung Daal's rival), Lillian Mumy (Endive's apprentice Panini, Chowder's non-girlfriend), Dwight Schultz (the guy who played Murdoch on the A-Team voices Mung Daal), and newcomer Nicky Taylor as Chowder.

I have no idea where they found this kid, but he's the perfect voice for the character. He fumes the perfect playfulness and childhood innocence that belongs to a character like this, and he's quite the actor. He managed to pull off a rare occurrence in kid's cartoons, which is creating a character that's cute while not being annoying. This is how animation should be, it just has that perfect combination of writing, animation, and voice acting that makes it all work. A second season had just been confirmed (with the latter portion of Season 1 premiering last night), as well as a DVD on the way! I can rest assured that it's one of the best shows that has hit Cartoon Network in literally years. I definitely recommend this show for anyone, and I assure you that this won't be a guilty please, just a normal one.

I leave you with a video of some great clips of the show:

The clips are from the first few episodes. While they're all excellent, the series as a whole has gotten even better than this.

"Say Chowdah, Frenchy!"


DC said...

Chili's ribs are pretty good. But, the best ribs I've ever had were in St. Louis at a place called Bandana's. It took a while for me to eat ribs after that because I knew they wouldn't compare. I'm over that now and actually had Chili's ribs just a few weeks ago. :)

Galileo said...

Yes, for Chains alone, they're my favorite, but you just can't beat Mom & Pop places.

My favorite place so far is a place here on Long Island called Smokin' Al's. Lots of food and its damn good. Expect an entry on it in the future

Dan said...

I gotta agree with you on Chili's ribs. I've only had them once but for chain ribs they're pretty dang good.
And as for Chowder, I just recently discovered this show and I love it! A lot of the stuff CN has come out with I haven't beencrazy about but this one is a winner. Looking forward to tomorrow's entry!

JoshC said...

I could be wrong(I should start off every sentence like that) but I think theres a Colbert day here in Canada somewhere,
I have always wanted to eat at Chili's, Someday..
As for Chowder the food? Meh, S'ok.
Chowder the show?
Looks really good, and I love dana snyder, especially the couple of cameos he had on Saul of the mole men.

Review the World said...

would you believe i am a born and raised ohio kid and never been to cedar point? - that's sad.. - king's island isn't too far from here, though, and not too shabby of a theme park.. - until last year they had a tie-in with paramount so there were a lot of movie-themed things and nickelodeon stuff..

i concur with you (and dan) on chili's ribs.. really not bad at all.. - last time i went with the ribs and firecracker salmon.. - now that's some good eatin'! - never tried any of the other sauces though, so now i have a mission..

Anonymous said...

I LOVE Chowder!!! It took a couple viewings to grow on me, but it did. It was the awesome transitions between scenes and the cool patterns that DON'T move even though the people do. I also love the kid voicing Chowder, it's cool that they've actually got a kid sounding like a kid. Compared to say, Timmy from Fairly Oddparents.

We'll see if Flapjack can measure up. So far it wasn't as much of a Spongebob rip as I expected.

I'm a devoted member of the Nation. I have yet to find one pint of Americone Dream though :(

Leigha said...

Oh my god, I effind love Cedar Point. I am from Ohio, so I have been there numerous times, but it has been about 6 years since I've been there. I started almost crying reading about it just now (although I am drunk) I am going this summer, no excuses, I must go. The last time I went, the millenium force was the newest coaster.