Junior Mints Pastels: Limited Edition

Junior Mints will always be the candy that Kramer accidentally dropped into the open cavity of a body undergoing surgery during an episode of Sinfeld. I have no real ties to them other than that and they seem to be the #3 choice for all movie-goers. Honestly, do people buy Junior Mints outside of the movie theater? I don’t think I have seen anyone walking around eating them in another environment.

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Well, regardless if Junior Mints are eaten in a movie theater or over an operating table, the Tootsie Roll Company has painted the deer turd-looking treat a pastel shade of blue and yellow in celebration of Spring and Easter. Whoopie! They have the same texture and minty flavor as the everyday Junior Mint but whether it is psychosomatic or the chemical makeup has changed, they are weird.

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To me, I think it is the choice of color. Yes, yellow is the normal Spring color but the blue kind of throws me and I think I know why. That shade of blue and the fact it has a mint taste brings me back to forced visits to my great aunts in Pennsylvania. I hated going there because for whatever reason, I had a fear of old people. And they were old!

I know this sounds like I was a cruel spoiled dick of a kid and maybe so, but sitting on a couch wrapped in plastic as my Mom and Grandmother talked with them about phlegm and bruises that won’t go away just really took a kids appetite and killed it for seven years. From the vaporizers to the electric chairs on stairs, I prayed for these visits to be quick. Also, I hate slippers.

Coming back to the blue mints, my great aunts also had bowls of blue mint candy. From what year, it’s anyones guess but I bet if the mints could talk they would tell you their vote was casted for Dwight Eisenhower. No matter what excuse I made, the aunts would not let me leave unless I had a pocket full of these dreadful pieces of candy. I had to endure this until the Japanese invented the Gameboy. God bless that wonderful country.

So, Pastel Junior Mints taste the same but their ability to unleash suppressed memories is pretty amazing. Congratulations Junior Mints! Now I am thinking of lipstick stained crumpled tissues.

Christmas of ’87: The Day

I think I have written this three times and each one was longer than the last. I cropped photos, recounted each toy I could remember and gave extensive detail to what they were and where they came from. It was exhausting and ultimately it came out flat. There are probably thirty thousand blogs devoted to archiving toys from the 1980’s and brother, this ain’t one of them. I never had the knack for specifics when it came to cartoons or branded toys. I take my hat off to those who do and heaven knows, I read these blogs which devote that certain energy but this little space of mine in the internet is more personal.

It was a restless night back in ’87. There is so much anticipation a little kid has on the eve of Christmas. I don’t think it’s about gifts either but rather the culmination of months of excitement all coming to ahead. Everything seemed to be so still and peaceful back then. I have a vivid memory looking out my window on to my street, all the houses decorated and lit with not a single soul to be seen. It was so serene.

I drifted off to sleep trying not to think about Christmas morning. The longer I dwelled the later it got. Instead I would pretend I was an Imperial officer having to prepare navigational charts for a Star Destroyer. (I was a weird kid) That was  an instant sleep remedy for me. Boring fantasies make me sleepy even today.

Like any kid at the ripe age of ten, once 5am came around, my internal clock kicked in and I was vertical. I moved slow and deliberate, creeping down the stairs, unsure what time it really was. I made my way to the den and flipped on the lights.

That’s the sight every adult has in their heads when thinking of the magic of Christmas to a child. That moment when you wrestle with yourself how Santa came while you slept and left you something. The smell of Scotch tape, wrapping paper and pine so early in the morning as you shiver with excitement and the fact it’s also 34 degrees outside. Then the long wait since getting the parents up probably wouldn’t be the best idea so you sit in the middle of the gifts, taking it all in and hold out until sunrise.

This was Christmas of 1987. The one that stands out above the rest. It isn’t because of a certain toy although it was the year I got Megatron and broke off one of his legs by going against my Dad’s suggestion of “not forcing it”. I think that year stands tall because Christmas seemed to permeate every aspect of my young life. The Christmas TV specials were amazing, the toys of that era were second to none and it felt as everyone was in the spirit. I have not felt that in years. And I am scared I probably never will.

I have memories. That is what Christmas is really all about, anyway. We come together and share merriment in an event that is logged in our hearts for years to come. Kind of magical, if you ask me.

So Merry Christmas to you. Don’t let this time go by without remembering what it is all about. Tell those around you how much they mean to you, keep the loved ones a little closer and hold out your hand to those who might not have someone. Think of the troops far off, kids who aren’t waking up to piles of gifts and the people who do not have a roof on cold nights.

Peace on Earth, good will toward men.

Good night and thank you for sticking with me this season. Hope everything amazing happens for you. Merry Christmas.

 

The Christmas of ’87: Part 3

It was a busy Christmas back in 1987. I battled CCD bullies and was humbled by a ceramic log fireplace but each of those unpleasantries were mere flesh wounds because it was approaching the end of December and Christmas Eve had finally  arrived. I have always loved this day although as I get older, the thrill has diminished quite a bit thanks to all the adult procrastination leading to mall trips, late night wrapping sessions and annoying family members who suck to shop for.

As a little kid, however, Christmas Eve was the day full of excitement. I actually enjoyed that day over Christmas because anticipation mixed with tradition is…well it’s just tits. I know when you blog about your ten-year old self, “tits” is inappropriate but I have never been able to use that phrase before.

Speaking of tradition, Dad and I started one that year. It’s our annual “run around the mall the day before Christmas and look for a joint present for Mom” tradition. You may think this is a lame one but actually it’s one of my favorites. We get up early and head to over to Hardee’s to get sausage biscuits and cinnamon raison biscuits which came in styrofoam boxes. God I loved those little tandem biscuits in boxes. I would absolutely drive a grass-covered hybrid Smart Car fueled by duck spit if it would balance out the carbon footprint of the Hardee’s cinnamon biscuit boxes and bring them back.

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Also, 1987 was the year Hardee’s and the California Raisins teamed up together and every kid had at least four Raisin claymation characters in their pockets at any given time. I didn’t really think about that until I committed to this post. AND A Claymation Christmas featuring the said Raisins also debuted that same year too. Food for thought!

After we ate and Dad finished reading part of the newspaper, we would head out to brave the mall. As a kid, crowded malls during Christmas Eve were as much fun as any amusement venue. Perhaps it was the anticipation of the next morning as we cruised by KB Toys but I think I just really loved this time with Dad. I would always ask him how people build houses and in his engineering way he would tell me the steps salting with laying a foundation. It was my own little weird way of having multiple lines of entertainment. Probably why I have the TV on while blogging and catching up on Twitter all at the same time. But in 1987 I had to rely on mall scenes and Dad’s very detailed step-by-step description on how to build a house and why planes fly.

After a successful mall trip where I am sure we bought Mom earrings and sweaters, we would head home and get ready to go to the Keller’s for Christmas Eve dinner. The Keller’s were family friends who had a dozen kids ranging from 19 to 28. They were all way too old to share anything in common with but I remember all of them treating me really nice. Or like a pet. Actually, now that I think about it, I was more like a puppy to them.

When you are the only child at a dinner party during Christmas Eve, a lot of the attention is on you. I never liked that. Especially when you are a shy kid who HATES when people watch you eat. I have always been weird about that and even today on business trips, I have a real hard time eating alone in a restaurant and usually opt to get food to-go and eat on a strange bed. It was doubly hard that most of the Keller’s kids were pretty college girls.

Mr. Keller was a 747 pilot for United Airlines and a very boisterous fellow, to say the least. He and my Dad (who is a little more reserve) would joke and laugh out loud in audible volumes which made the dog under the table retreat upstairs. I didn’t care for Mr. Keller too much because he was the total opposite of my Dad in every way. I am sure he meant well but his larger than life character didn’t translate to a kid who was the master of the “quiet game”. One time mom forgot to tell me the game was over on a Friday afternoon and I had to write “is it over?” on a piece of paper the next evening. Guess who got a toy for that guilt session?

Where was I? Oh yeah, so Mr. Keller didn’t exactly strike me as “father of the year” but then he asked me a question which changed every negative feeling I had towards him.

“Billy, are you ready for Santa to come? NORAD spotted him somewhere over the Pacific ocean earlier.”

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I was at the age when Santa was a possibility but not a probability. I had my sever doubts especially when his letter from last year had the undeniable likeness to my father’s handwriting. But when a 747 pilot says “NORAD”, that puts  a different spin on it. And then Mr. Keller really shined it on by telling me back before I was born he was in the Air Force and he had to reroute his squadron because Santa was in the same airspace.

This was like drinking out of a firehouse for an excited ten-year old. I had to know more so I asked him, “What’s NORAD?”

“That’s our line of defense incase the goddamn Russians pull some shit.”

Mrs. Keller didn’t miss a beat when she interjected with “WHO WANTS PIE?”.

Mr. Keller’s well-intentioned thought getting a kid excited about Santa kind of backfired because I most likely asked him 500 times for an updated NORAD report. It must have been a bit ironic for a retired Major to have to give situation status reports to a kid in the twilight of the Cold War but we are talking about Santa. The hope for me finally getting a helicopter was still yet alive!

The evening grew late and soon the thirty minute process of gathering coats, Mrs. Keller forcing us to take leftovers and drawn out tipsy hugs came to an end. And for me, who was ripped on orange soda and chocolate with renewed faith in Santa, I was ready. I was ready because we still had one more Christmas Eve tradition left; the first present!

Last year, you might recall, I got Top Gun on VHS which led to a root beer incident. That was a wound still fresh in the family of three so my parents wisely chose to delay the first gift until late at night.

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We came home, plugged in the tree, turned on the new stereo to the Mannheim Steamroller’s Christmas album and I got to choose one of the ten gifts that tortured me for the past month under the tree. It took me approximately 0.0078 seconds to grab the one I absolutely knew what it was. Well, I knew what it was but not which one it was. You’ll see in a second.

Like my buddy, Matt, who runs Dinosaur Dracula states, “Even before I started tearing away the wrapping paper, I knew it was going to be a Nintendo game. Those boxes had a distinct weight, shape and feel.”.

It was absolutely a Nintendo game and when I ripped away the paper it revealed the talk of the playground and the game every kid wanted, Metroid. This Christmas of ’87 was truly one of the best. I begged to play this before promising to be in bed before Santa arrived and with a hesitant yes, I was able to kill that Mannheim Stream roller shit and crank up the Nintendo.

This is the sound that is forever linked to Christmas 1987. It is the sound of heavenly bliss and childhood nostalgia.

As quickly as it began it was over because the folks were getting tired and their work was just beginning. I was rushed up to bed, still on a sugar high and Metroid craze but I had to sleep. Santa was well in our airspace and if I wasn’t in bed, who knows the consequences? I wasn’t about to risk my ridiculous wish list which I wrote to him last summer on a night of insomnia.

I was going to make this a three-part series but in order to avoid a 3890 word post I have decided to add one more part. Stay tuned for the Christmas that put its shadow on the wall and no other Christmas could possibly live up to.

 

Tales From The Darkside Got Me Grounded

This story is a testament to how much simpler life was back when I was a kid. I had almost completely forgotten about this story until recently when I was talking to Kristen and low and behold, it just popped in there! The brain never ceases to amaze me because this memory has been stored for over twenty years only to randomly fallout like a picture used as a bookmark falling from a Garfield comic. (Because we all have read these in the 80’s) It comes at a good time too because this blog was turning into rubbish with mindless beer reviews and beef jerky. That’s no way to go through life, son.

Saturday nights for a certain period of my life were a special time. For whatever reason, from 7:00 to let’s say 10 or 11:00, my parents hosted a few couples from church for a bible discussion party. Well, I assume that’s what it was though I can’t be sure because my evenings were far better, which you will find out soon. After their bible yap, everyone would mingle and share the desserts each couple brought. I was allowed downstairs for that. Until then I was confined to the parents room with the TV, books of sharks, and whatever else a young seven-year old needed to pass the time. But at 9:00 my attention was devoted to a very special program that sometimes proved to be regretful whether it was later on at night from fears of what lurks under the bed or….well…keep reading.

I didn’t have cable until high school so with five channels (not including PBS because that was like watching school) and four channels on the smaller rotating dial, the selection was limited. But on Saturday nights there was quite the programing on Atlanta 46! The most memorable, of course, was “Tales From the Darkside”. For those not familiar, get out. I kid! I kid! It was a thirty minute program that featured two stories of macabre and strange tales usually starring some middle of the road actor from the time. Not all the shows were great but to a seven-year old, each one was a masterpiece.

One fateful Saturday afternoon my Dad informed me that a couple would be bringing their kids to the bible party and I would have to share my Saturday night of B-rated TV. While I was a little disappointed because as an only child I am a spoiled little dick, I had no say in the matter and began looking for the bright side. I mean, it could be fun.

It wasn’t at all. I knew it the second they arrived as I watched them pull into the driveway. These kids were melvins who brought their own pillows. They brought their own pillows for Christ sake! I sighed and walked limp-armed back to the parents room across the hall, head hung low and waited to hear people walk up the stairs. But instead Mom called for me to greet the un-welcomed guests and walk them to my Saturday sanctuary where no parental guidance was required.

I must have look like a pill giving a limp handshake to…Whats-his-face (let’s call him Jimmy for lack of memory) and his little sister, Rebecca.

Rebecca would be a problem for me.

With their idiotic board games and pillows in hand, we trudged upstairs to ruin my night. I offered to leave them in my room to do their will upon my collection of GI Joe and Legos, but that only appealed to Jimmy; the one kid I thought wouldn’t mind a night of twisted tales of grown up gore. Rebecca was stuck to my side like a rock in tire tread. Looking back as an adult it was pretty cute but to a kid that waited all week to hear the intro to “Tales From The Darkside”, it was an un-welcomed advance and there was no way to give these home schooled kids the slip.

Throughout the evening I tried to be entertaining and cordial. Jimmy wasn’t too bad, partly because he had Castle Greyskull to play house with and could care less about the world around him. Rebecca, however, sat hip-to-hip with me on the floor, eyes fixed on the TV as we watched “Small Wonder” and I nervously counted down the program schedule until “Tales From The Darkside” aired. Only one more “feel-good” show to go!

Dad brought us popcorn and cokes and asked if I was being a good host to which I responded “yeahyeah” without breaking gaze from the TV. He left to rejoin the adults and I could hardly wait because now was the time I had waited for patiently and even though I had to share this moment with these two weirdos, it was happening.

The intro alone distracted Jimmy from battling the forces of Cobra as he joined his sister and me on the floor, soon to witness the macabre and scary tales this glorious show had to offer. And brother, this one was a doozy! It was the first episode and pilot for the show that George Romero himself wrote and produced. The episode was called “Trick or Treat” and had demons, witches, pirate zombies and Satan himself all wrapped into a half an hour. Let’s break it down, shall we?

After the magical introduction we begin the story with a typical Scrooge-like character, Mr. Haggles, played by Bernard Hughes (one of my all time favorite actors). He is having his books balanced by a couple of accountants and we begin to learn what a cheap miser he really is, charging one of them .04 cents for another cup of coffee. But we also learn he has a twisted side too as he scares the two accountants into a bowel evacuation by an animatronic…thing that he uses on children during his favorite “SEASON”, Halloween.

It’s Willy from Alf!!!

That’s right. Mr. Haggles says what I have always believe and that is Halloween is a season, not a day. Anyway, he goes on to explain how every year he tempts the children in the valley to find the IOU’s of their parents that he holds liens on, hidden somewhere in his house, and if they find them all debt is forgiven. But no one ever has because of the terrifying tricks he has set up around his home.

We see during the afternoon of Halloween the bind he has on the parents as they are so deep in debt to Mr. Haggles that they even have to buy costumes for their children on credit in his general store. He taunts them into sending their children to the Hell house with the chance to have their debts forgiven.

Much like Romero’s style, there is a deep cultural issue hidden behind a cheeky horror story. We see how desperate people in financial distress can be and in some cases, putting their children in harm’s way to get out of their situation. I’m not going as far as saying prostitution but…kind of?

Oh Jimmy, find the IOU’s and get those much need braces or don’t find them and get a beating. The odds aren’t good since Mr. Haggles has a house full of spooky sounds and animatronic ghoulish surprises in store. Jimmy comes close but just couldn’t take the torture of Mr. Haggle’s taunts.

As Jimmy runs out of the house his father picks him up in a nurturing way and walks home defeated. Mr. Haggles laughs at the terrified kid but there is a moment when he has his bubble burst when Mr. Muldoon isn’t angry but rather a caring father. You can almost hear Mr. Haggles sigh a “humbug”. Who is next?

Another potential victim rings his doorbell and from his Wizard of Oz type control room, he looks to see who it is. Another kid? A parent coming to whoop an old man’s ass? Not quite!

In every story when a greedy person meets their fate, there seems to always be this third-party who’s entire being is for punishing the sinner. By far, this is my favorite punishment. He looks into the peephole only to see one of the scariest witches as she cackles a “trick or treat”. He opens the door to shoo away this prankster only to come to the realization that this is a real witch. She flies through the house on her broom and magically finds the hidden IOU’s and blows them in his face. Frantically, Mr. Haggles jumps to catch them all completely overlooking that he HAS A FUCKING WITCH IN HIS DEN and runs through the house shouting “my money!”.

 

In each room he is met with these type of creatures, who are not animatronic, but real and all over his cash. He is in disbelief that a pirate-zombie is sitting on his check deposits and scurries to salvage the flying cash. Which leads him to….

 

 

Ah, Satan himself. The Devil reverses the taunting and repeats “you’re getting warmer” and Mr. Haggles crawls his way down a bright red corridor which is made of what appears to be bubble wrap. While the set design looks to be a mediocre haunted garage that can be found in any suburb on Halloween night, it is a little creepy. Mr. Haggles crawls his way, chasing his blowing cash, to what is perceived to be Hell. Good riddance.

But what about all the poor people who were in debt to Mr. Haggles?

 

 

Well, the witch gave it all to Billy. The End.

As we finished this tale of awesome, I came out of my “Tales From The Darkside” trance to the world around me. Only Jimmy was sitting next to me but where was Rebecca? Apparently during the Hell scene she ran from the room and down to the bible study in tears telling her parents that I forced her to watch ‘R’ rated devil shows. Before I could evaluate the situation I heard the familiar sound of my Mom’s fast paced stair climbing gape. There was nowhere to hide. Jimmy looked at me and said, “You’re in a lot of trouble”. Fuck you, Jimmy, you home-schooled melvin.

The credits were still rolling while Mom and her parents breached the door and she yanked me from the floor so fast there was a tiny pop from a sound barrier break. I was escorted to my room by the elbow and Jimmy was taken downstairs to join his traumatized sister and would be given cookies and cake until their parents decided to leave. I cursed them all from my bed having daydreams much like Ralphy from The Christmas Story, thinking how sorry they would be if I was blind or have an affliction that required sympathy. But I wouldn’t give them the satisfaction.

By the next week when bible study came around, the melvins did not join me. I was thankful for this but my Saturday nights had to be spent without TV. But was it worth it?

Yes it was.

Goodbye

Well, I guess this was coming. I mean, I post about as regular as Jamie Lee Curtis. (Activia joke) I need to get a different forum and narrow the topic to a specific direction. While Veggiemacabre has been great, I am a different person than 2007. Maybe better or maybe worse but not the same. I loved this place and the people I have met through it.

I know Matt ended X-E and started DinosaurDracula. This is sort of the same thing but going forward you will see more of a media side since I have invested so much into software. I have a vision and as soon as the know-how happens you’ll see. Thank you for a wonderful five years. Watch below to get the skinny.

By the way, Veggiemacabre.tv will still be here. Just leaving this blog.

Good Journey!

What’s Been Going On?

Alright, the holidays are over. Christmas did what it does every year and that is sneak up behind me, steal my wallet, put 1500 miles on my car, gets me out of shape, pissy and then before I know it I am back in my office wondering why I got so excited about it to begin with. And next year, the same will probably happen. But 2011 didn’t go quietly into the night. Let me catch you up.

What you are looking at above is me, hard at work supplying all facilities with the latest and greatest medical technologies. I have been hard at work in this position for a while and so far, love it. I know you can’t tell by my expression but being an account exec does have its rewards. Let me explain.

Trying to help older people understand the web or applications is a lot like explaining the steps how to DVR Happy Days to your cat when you are out-of-town; it takes a long time and when you come home you can be certain that the Fonz will not be in your future. Older Doctors know a lot about the world of medicine but the when it comes to web applications they make a face much like I do when someone asks me if I know what a Kardashian is. “I don’t understand the question and I refuse to answer it.”- Lucile Bluth

People come and people go in life. I have learned through extinct relationships that going separate ways doesn’t require screaming and lamp throwing. It’s important to know what you want, understand that not everyone is perfect, appreciate the ones who enter your life and appreciate the ones who left even more. So, for now, being a single guy who works sixty hours a week fits well. Like my late great-grandmother said to me when we visited years ago, “…if you are a monkey, be a monkey. Let the zebras have their stripes. Just be a good monkey.” I remember that as though it was yesterday. And after that advice my grandmother took me to Burger King. What a great day.

I’ve finally planted here. While I look for a nice house to finally buy, I will be hanging my hat here and hosting a lot of VeggieMacabre.TV at that bar…thing…it. With about five thousand invested into Ikea and some art from Final Girl, this place will do just fine. I will also get to use my green screen and host the show from space or Newark!

Looks like Alton Brown and I have buried the hatchet. By finding a common bond with flying I soon forgot the present he signed for me a few years ago. In case you don’t know I received a signed copy of his first book. I was ecstatic until I read his message.

Okay, that was a pretty good one. Girl:1 Will:0

I went up north again for Christmas and every year I say it’s the last time but then November comes and I find myself committing to the madness. But, it’s family and sacrificing some time to remind yourself why you live so far away is good for the soul. Also, I get more quality time with Uncle Mark. He is an amazing dude. Although, he drives like a fuckin’ nutcase! Also, he is best friends with the Indian couple that run a Dunkin Donuts. It’s a weird match but at least we had a place to dump the discarded wrapping paper that night!

Well, that’s a quick catch up and I did so in less than 750 words! I thought for sure I would ramble for 3,000. Lucky for you.

I will leave you with a picture from 1983 at my grandmother’s when I was much smaller, Dad’s mustache was much bigger and the world was a lot more fun. I was downloading this picture to Photobucket and the lady behind me asked if this could get any cuter.

Better?

Sooooo…. Yup

It has been so long and I have missed you all so much. Really. Honestly. The thing is I just don’t know how to jump back in this whole blogging thing again so I guess I am just going to do it. There has been a few life directions I have changed and last Sunday I turned 30 so this is as good of a time as any to start up the ol’ VeggieMacabeness that will someday be the word of all humanity. Just wait. “Be Excellent To Each Other”.

I was asked to speak at the 2010 Young Executives Conference for NEC and Konica Minolta next week about what lessons I have learned and how I attribute them to my success. There are a few things wrong with that last statement. One, I am neither young or an executive. I am a project manager for a medium size office that will pay for my Neuro PhD. Two, everything I learned in life has been from the 1987-91 TGIF line up on ABC so the joke is on them, I guess. Three, I am far from a success. Do successful people break off the trunk from the broccoli in the grocery store to make it lighter or hold onto a box of Nabisco Spookie Fruits from the eighties? Not really.

I know I am getting older and it really hit me when my parents sent me their gift. It was a fruit basket. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful because many people my age don’t get anything, but a fruit basket? I just sent a fruit basket to a new customer as a token of appreciation. This does not compute. Maybe I am just being a whiny weenie Will? Nononono. Wtf? A fruit basket?

I have finally managed to ignore all vices for the past couple of months and hit the gym to get back in the shape I was in at 28. My goal is to be in better shape, look hotter and be tip-top happidy hap-hap happy come this summer. I have a goal to make this the one true crazy summer of fun and mayhem. And then grow up. You know, like buy land, get married and have kids? I at least make the effort.

Oh shit, it happened. I hate teenagers. Everything about them makes me want to hurt puppies and babies. I have no idea where that came from but as I am writing this I just saw two walk by in their emo-skinny jean-black and purple-wierdo hat-sad walk and I want to say, “MRAAAROOORAPDAP!” because there are no words for my pissiness. “I weep for the future“.

I know that this post had a tinge of bitchiness to it but I promise great stuff on the way including a Megadeth backstage post on the first of March. Man, I hope Dave isn’t too big of a prick. And I hope I don’t get nervous and get shaky leg syndrome like the time I met Alice Cooper. That was just embarrassing.

Where Did You Go? X-Mas Addition

Tis the season to be watching tons of the most merry programing and movies Hollywood has to offer. Even though I consider the Halloween season to be the most anticipated time of the year for fun TV, the Christmas season is arguably the most popular. Why I say this is because of all the cable channels that are 100% dedicated to the Holidays like AMC, Hallmark, Lifetime, ABC Family, QVC and TMC. Plus, Christmas movies outnumber any other holiday movies probably 51,687,342 to 1. So today I am going to pick a few of the 51,687,342 Christmas movies and see what the actors are up to today. I hope there are not too many dead.

“Stuck? Stuuuck? STUUUUUCCCKKK!!!”

Poor Flick. The kid that proved sticking your tongue to a flagpole is not an urban legend like previously believed. His role in the Christmas movie to end all Christmas movies, The Christmas Story, was really a prominent role to me. I think it was because he captured what kids were really like and that was his high pitch, shrill screams he belted. Bravo Scott Schwartz!

Holy Jingle Bells! Since his most famous role as Flick, it looks like Scott Schwartz has gotten his tongue stuck on more things than a flagpole. Unbelievably so, Scott made a pretty good run in the porn business through the 90’s. It never ceases to amaze me when writing these “catch up” articles what a few of these childhood stars delve into. But to be fair, he has done other things like his other famous role in The Toy and many after school specials. Today he runs a card shop with his dad and still acts in lower budget movies. His porn star days look like they have gone the way of the Dodo. I mean he is only 5 foot 6 so how impressive could he be? I’m just stating what others think.

“I am not a piece of undigested potato, you fucking dick-hole warrior!”

I don’t know if I quoted that completely accurate but I think I am pretty close. Anyway, Frank Finlay played the ghostly assistant to Scrooge (George C. Scott), Marley in the 1984 made for TV movie Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. And holy holly shit, Marley scared the nog out of me. Really though, that part of the story was always the most unnerving. Much more than the Ghost Of Christmas Yet To Come.

Frank is one of those actors that has been a film legend but has not been privy in my limitless film knowledge because, well, that knowledge is reserved for films like Flight Of The Navigator and Mega Shark 3 (director’s cut). No, Frank is a “serious” British actor that has been in so many films, plays and TV specials from the 1950’s to present, I couldn’t read off the list without taking a pee break. But in that whole list that I am not willing to type, I really only recognized a few like The Pianist, Life Force (amazing space vampire movie) and The Three Musketeers followed a year later by The Four Musketeers (no idea). So with that, thanks Frank. Thanks for scaring the figgy pudding out of me on the most joy-est day of the year.

“Dinosaurs are always linked to the birth of Christ” (Almost made that 10, Norb)

I don’t know if you will remember the “Claymation Christmas Special” but if you do, you will be just as outraged as I am that this isn’t a Christmas classic like “Merry Christmas Charlie Brown” or” How The Grinch Stole Christmas”. No, this amazing TV special died with the dawn of Pixar animation because let’s face it; claymation takes artistic talent and computer geeks out number them 10 to 1. You can probably find the clay animators working for “Ace of Cakes” or something.

So where are our hosts Rex and Douches-Tricer-whocaresish?

Like you didn’t already know that?

“Santa, there is a little boy who wears bear sweaters and corduroy pants that lives in Marietta, Georgia. I think his style is amazing and I totally want to go steady with a guy like that.”

That was actually in the 1985 movie Santa Clause and the actress Carrie Kei Heim said that. I think they edited it out in the TV formated version but I remember it.

Seriously though, I had a huge crush on the young actress as a kid. And if you are a 31-year-old straight male that remembers 1985, you did too. Unfortunately she wasn’t in too many other movies other than Parent Trap II and a few TV programs like “Pippi Longstocking” and “The Equilizer”. No matter, though because she has a successful life as a lawyer, wife and mother of one in Boston. I like learning that child actors have another destiny besides being a guest on “The Smoking Gun TV show”.

That’s where I am going to leave this addition of “Where Did You Go” for the 2009 Christmas season. We learned that Flick’s pole licking led him to a carrier in pornography, Marley is arguably the scariest of the ghosts in The Christmas Carol (except for Goofy), Claymation is awesome and the only way for a comeback is to go buy your own Play-do set, and the cute girl in Santa Clause grew up to be boring and a lawyer. So that means she is damned to Hell. Well, that’s pretty interesting.

It’s Christmas Time Already?

What? When did this happen? I am not going to say that I don’t like it, but what happened to, well, the year? I suppose there is no use in being upset by a year that when from zero to “Ba-Zing” so…let’s start the holiday off with a bang!

If the above image is confusing to you, then I guess you don’t have X-Entertainment.com in your life, and I am sad for you. Like a broken record, every year at the same time, I shout from the mountain tops to check out Matt’s famous site of all things great. So this year is no different. Make a point to click the link and take a fun trip, whether it is the blog or the wacky antics in the advent calender, I promise you’ll feel colors. Red and Green colors.

For the first official day of the 2009 Christmas season, I believe I will discuss the greatest memories I have and that is the countless hours spent browsing the Sears catalog, making a “wish list” and checking twice. Or three hundred times. Ok, five hundred. Whatever. Combing my memory, here are some great toys that even today, I wouldn’t mind having.

The USS FLAGG was the greatest toy a boy could have. It was like a toy for your toys. That didn’t make any sense, I know, but go with me here. It was so massive it required a permanent portion of a room. I had fantasies about this thing. I dreamed of being the kid that truly had the best gift every kid wanted and the massive amounts superficial friends I would acquire because of it. I dreamed of eating cheeseburgers on the deck while watching Thundercats. I dreamed of reenacting the opening scene of  Top Gun while humming the theme song. A kid can dream, can’t he? But sadly enough, it was a dream. Never had the damn thing.

Holy shit did I have a few of these. I think this was the present that all my relatives bought for me when I was six. It was as if everyone got a memo for that Christmas stating my aspirations to build a fleet for the Rebel Alliance. What ever the case, if you needed a Kenner X-Wing; I was your guy. The one thing I hated about this toy was the laser sound. It made a noise that would turn a cat inside out and explode. What ever that noise was, it was not a laser sound. Watch this below and see what I am talking about. “REEEEE”

Speaking of lasers, remember this awesomeness of awesome? The Hasbro Lazer Tag set was one of my most treasured Christmas gifts and even though I never found a kid in the neighborhood who had a set to compete with, I did enjoy shooting myself with the help of the bathroom mirror. The only thing I didn’t like about this was the noisy heartbeat sounds on the monitor. Made sneaking around pretty much impossible.

When I was searching for the perfect Transformer picture to rant and rave for the “must have” toy of the mid to late 80’s, I came upon this. Megatron. In an instant I was whisked off the couch back to 1987, sitting in my PJ’s on the blue carpeted den in Marietta, Georgia on Christmas morning. On my lap was this glorious purple box. When I took it out of the static clinging styrofoam I immediately began to “transform” the Rugger pistol into the nemesis of Optimus Prime, ignoring the pleads of my father not to force it. But before I knew it, I forced it, and hyper-extended it. I broke off the leg of Megatron. Though the disappointment was apparent, I still managed to enjoy it for what it was. God, I can still smell the pine, scotch tape and new plastic. Some nostalgia can rival any of Einstein’s greatest theories.

Pow Pow Power Wheels! Much like the dream of owning the USS Flagg, another pipe dream of mine was owning a set of Power Wheels. I had plenty of first grade daydreams of driving my Power Wheel Jeep to the store for my Mom or picking up my pal Toby and cruising to Showbiz Pizza and catching a Rock-A-Fire Explosion animatronic show. But it was not in the stars. But the next year I did car jack the neighbors daughter and take her Barbie Jeep around the block. That is until Mom found out and a foot chase issued. Turns out Power Wheels were a lot faster in my dreams. I was escorted by the elbow to a cell without dinner.

The WWF Wrestling Buddies were a big item for my friends and me. What toy could be better than an Ultimate Warrior a 75 pound kid can body slam? In fact, this pillow character above is directly responsible for a dislocated shoulder. I will just say the couch is not a platform for a pile driver. It’s embarrassing to admit losing a match to a half pound pillow. Even if it was this dude:

Yeah, would you mess with this guy? I didn’t think so.

Perhaps it was for a lack of siblings but I really wanted a bear that could read me bedtime stories and have conversations about Star Wars. This was the one time it was sociably acceptable to have a teddy bear as a boy. We all knew Christopher Robin was a pansy. But going through my old photos from my time home for Thanksgiving I found a troubling picture.

Ah shit. No wonder. I will leave it at that. No wonder.

Nothing will fuck a vacuum up like a Lite Brite peg. I know this from experience. But really, I have received this a couple of different times during Christmas and even though I understood the concept, I never made anything more than an illuminated Jackson Pullock. Seriously, if Lite Brite was an intelligence test, I would have scored somewhere between “cat with paintbrush in mouth” and “chimp with paint on it’s ass”. Meh, this was a shit gift.

No, I have never owned a Strawberry Shortcake doll but I have tried to eat one. Like you haven’t at least thought about it. But I can attest, it just tastes like plastic.

I believe this is a good way to wrap up this old Christmas-want article. The one, the only Castle Greyskull. Even my Grandmother knows what Castle Greyskull is. This magnificent play set was a Masters of the Universe staple in every snotty kid’s room. I was shit, I admit. I even had Skeletor’s Castle. In fact, there are fond memories of saying “boner” over the Doom microphone. I suppose you have to be eight to see the humor. I still cackle when I hear “boner”.

I hope some of my memories have brought up a few of yours. I know I can’t be alone in my head toy chest. Tis the season to be happy and these memories make me smile no matter where or when. Let’s kick off the X-Mas fun starting….right…….NOW!

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