The Damn Double Down Is Back

I know it’s been a while since I have done another installment of “For A Limited Time Only” and for good reason. Between travel and the awful situation with my little dog buddy, there hasn’t been too much time for anything. But I am not going to let this one escape the vault of limited time items just because it’s too ridiculous not to include. The infamous KFC “Double Down” is back for a short time and it wants to kill you.

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I am not going to lie to you, I was a little embarrassed ordering this thing. I’ll explain what it is in a minute, just incase you are unfamiliar, but I almost wanted to ask for a vegetable to balance out the order. KFC, however, scoffs at the thought of anything good for you so I was forced to look like the guy who just doesn’t give a shit. (I also had a Texas Pete stain on my shirt which I found later this evening. Class act)

The Double Down is the fast food’s middle finger to the FDA, American Heart Association and Surgeon General. Since its inception back in 2010, it’s been called everything from the “Fankensandwich” to “the worst thing freedom has to offer”. Personally, I find it fascinating. Not because it has an entire days worth of sodium and weeks worth of saturated fat, but because there are people out there who will eat this as a low carb option. You know, to lose weight?

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“Jesus wept”

There she is. All 580 calories and it’s packed in a cute little box. Deconstructing the “sandwich” you have two fried chicken breasts, two slices of bacon, two slices of cheese and the Colonel’s secret sauce. Alone, these items seem harmless but when their forces combine they become the Double Down, champion of a fat ass.

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This is what it looks like to laugh in the face of danger. I tried it and I am still here. No better; no worse. The taste is exactly what I expected given the nutritional facts before hand. Just one bite (and I only had one bite) required a bottle of water from the sodium shock. And believe it or not, this comes in a grilled version however it has more sodium than the abomination you see above. That’s right, the Colonel has a plan of doom for everyone. Even the delusional who think they are healthier going the grilled route.

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I didn’t think eating a bite would harm me but I have heard the mere sight of this sandwich causes a rare form of sudden obesity. I don’t believe any of tha-

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Aw shit…

PETER LOOK AWAY!

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Sorry, man. Looks like the urban legend is true.

 

 

VeggieMacabre! But What Does It Mean???

I think it’s about time I share with the world where the devil I came up with the name “VeggieMacabre”. After all, it’s only seven years old. What am I waiting for?

In order for me to explain this one we need to get into the way-back machine and travel to the year 1997, in a small camp nestled way up in the North Georgia mountains which trains some of the most elite soldiers at the art of mountain warfare and survival. I found myself there working, training and being screamed at by some of the toughest people the United States military has to offer. Although I was constantly cold, wet, exhausted, hungry, sore, stressed, bloodied, bruised and nervous, I don’t think I have ever been happier because I belonged to something so much bigger and apart of the best. I fit and there wasn’t a day that passed where I wasn’t expected to give over 100%. My hands were callused, my mental acuity was at its zenith and it was not abnormal to be awake for three days straight with little to nothing to eat and asked run ten miles as fast as we could only to return back to the woods for more combat exercises. I loved it. And at 36 in my civilian life, I am certain I would absolutely die living that life again.

One particular evening, I was tasked to stand guard outside a makeshift firebase we constructed and challenge anyone approaching with the what is known as a “challenge and pass”. In order for someone to come into my area without getting shot, I had to issue the secret challenge word in the form of a sentence and they had to respond with the password also in a sentence. If they failed to do so, deadly force was authorized and I was a pretty high-strung kid so I have no doubt I would have shot the shit out of anyone who screwed this up. And it could easily have been done.

You see, back then we still used a lot of Vietnam war era technology including a secret code book that depending on the day of the week, month and year would reveal secret code words, numbers, and other combinations for soldiers to use when communicating over the radio, calling mortar fire or simply finding out what a password to pass through a friendly base. But you had to know how to use it because if you screw up, it could cost you your life. Not only that, if it fell into the wrong hands it could cost your buddies’ lives as well which is far worse. That’s why if you thought you were going to be captured, you had to burn it or eat it. Yes, it’s able to be eaten.

So, before leaving the perimeter to take up my post, I flipped through the small blue paper book in the secret combination of ways to find the challenge and pass as well as the time when we change frequencies on the radio. I still remember most of it however I am not entirely sure if they teach or use this in the Army today. It was classified back then so I have to keep that one on the down-low.

Anyway, the challenge for that day was “Veggie” and the password was “Macabre”. I remember thinking to myself that “macabre” was going to be strange to use in a sentence especially in response to a “veggie” question but really didn’t give it much of a thought after. I packed my Prc 77 radio in my rucksack, locked and loaded my M16, and my SCOUT buddy and I headed out to set up shop in the woods outside the perimeter to meet the scheduled Recon team who was due to come back from patrol with the next few hours.

The craziest thing about standing guard in the middle of the night, especially severely sleep deprived, is the way your mind plays tricks on you. I have so many stories of hallucinating things that were never there through sheer fatigue. One time I thought I saw a pizza roll out of the back of a military troop carrier only to come to and see it was a spare tire that had shaken loose and was wildly rolling down a hill. Another time I thought I saw a horse galloping across a pond. Then there was the time I saw a soldier try to put a quarter in a tree thinking it was a vending machine. Very true. All of these were just my brain’s fight between consciousness and straight up REM. Guard duty was the worst for this. Especially when you haven’t slept much in a week and you’re constantly pushed to the physical limit to now, in the darkest part of the night, sit silently and keep your ears and eyes open for not only the enemy creeping toward you but also friendlies coming in from a night patrol. It’s a fight just to keep your brain from screwing you.

As we laid there, sketching our fire lanes for the platoon leader, my buddy asked me what the challenge and pass was for the night. I could tell I was one of the few who was well versed in the term “macabre” from a childhood loving Freddy and Jason but to meathead jocks, it was a new addition to their vocabulary. I explained its definition and used it in probably a dozen sentences but it was soon decided that I was to challenge the incoming patrol. It was easier that way. No one wants to die in a macabre way over the term macabre.

After a few radio checks and what felt like an eternity, there was a faint movement in the dark. Over the radio crackled the familiar call sign of the recon patrol asking permission to approach, “Romeo 1 this is Stalker 6, break, about 400 mikes november whiskey from your alpha alpha, break, requesting permission to approach, over“.

That means “Hey you this is me (say break to un-squelch the mic on the radio to keep the enemy from breaking the frequency code) we are about 400 meters northwest of your area, don’t shoot.”

I responded “Stalker 6 this is Romeo 1, advance to be recognized and challenged, over.

They responded, “Roger Romeo 1, we are advancing, out.”

So with my SCOUT buddy behind the M-60, I prepared to meet the patrol thinking of a sentence to use “veggie” and so very curious how they would respond.

Soon I could see the patrol, looking beat up, tired and overall ready for MRE’s and cigarettes. The biggest and dumbest one passed in front of their Ranger file formation and approached to be within whisper distance.

“Halt!”, I whispered. Advance to be recognized.” The kid did and obviously exhausted from a night in chin-deep ponds and steep mountain terrain. I challenged him.

“It’s almost time for dinner, what veggie do you want with your meatloaf.”, I asked. He responded.

“Anything on the macabre would be nice.”

There was snickering from the patrol but not only was I flabbergasted from the response and the utter shock of stupidity but I had no idea what to do! I had spent over a year being drilled to follow everything to the letter I didn’t know what to do when the password was right but severely misused in a sentence. Half of me wanted to let these guys in for well needed rest but the other half was terrified by the possibility of compromising the base. It was a moment that led me to draw my weapon and stating “INCORRECT”.

Confusion.

In an instant the NCOIC took control and blurted the word “macabre” in a sentence which made sense. I looked back at my SCOUT buddy who was hidden in defilade behind me hoping he wouldn’t unleash Hell but thank goodness he absorbed my explanation of the word earlier that night and laid off the trigger.

After we indexed the training mission, the NCOI who jumped to the rescue of his patrol put in that I was to be (and did) awarded the Army Accomendation Medal for…almost shooting up his platoon over poor vocabulary.

It was a bit embarrassing but ever since then the challenge and password Veggie/Macabre has been burned into my brain. In 2007 when I was inspired to create a site of all things stupid, I could think of no better name than VeggieMacabre.

And now you know.

 

 

 

 

 

Tribute to the Best GI Joe Toy: The Tomahawk

There I was, minding my own business on a Wednesday night, watching my new-found love of TV shows, The Toy Hunter, when I was suddenly transported back to December of 1987. No, I wasn’t really get sucked through a wormhole and landed 26 years in the past, forced to watch my 9 year-old-self wear pants that were too high. It was more of an existential experience back to when I had one of the best toys a boy could have. But over the years it slowly lost its pieces and parts in a pretend war campaign waged against Cobra. And the Empire. And Skeletor.

I was such a shit on toys. (I hope I remember to come back and think of a better phrase than that)

That particular episode of The Toy Hunter, the focus was on finding the GI Joe line from the early to late 1980’s and one of my all time favorites as a kid who was destined to one day join the real Army. I remember collecting so many of the vehicles that at one time I needed to rely on Star Wars creatures to operate them. The GI Joe guys seemed to have an issue with their legs coming off.

There was one vehicle, however, that ruled the rest of them. Of course this is up for debate because there are a million of nerds who will argue differently but this was the one that ruled my collection. It was the UH-6N Tomahawk helicopter made by Hasbro and it brought serious clout to the battlefield in the backyard.

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image from yojoe.com

This was more than just a toy. This was a toy that your other toys could interact with. Hours of fun could be had with this massive vehicle and I do mean massive. Keep in mind, I was 9 years old and probably 60 pounds soaking wet so playing with this helicopter would be the equivalent of “adult” me pretending to fly my ironing board around the room. Most of the time I was loading on legless joes in a hot LZ while medics applied tourniquets and the aircrew laid down a barrage of suppressive fire. I had a realistic imagination and was probably a real drag to play with.

This toy also had another special memory attached to it because like all kids who just can’t wait for Christmas Day, I found the awesome box under their bed in early December and had to crawl the walls for almost the entire month before opening it on Christmas Day. I hope kids still are that way.

So, I guess you are asking why I am writing about a Christmas gift in June? I can answer that. Bringing this tale back full circle to The Toy Hunter, this particular toy, in the unopened box went for $8,000. And that’s when I made this face:

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$8000 for an almost 30-year-old toy??? It’s hard to fathom six pounds of plastic parts to be monetarily equivalent to a 2003 Acura. I was in disbelief that not only was my favorite toy in a sealed box so expensive but that there are people who actually would pay that much! Why? I was a bit shocked but I also felt a bit validated because I consider it my favorite childhood toy.

Although the Tomahawk is probably a shell at the bottom of a box somewhere in the recesses of the parents’ basement, I took a piece of it with me through my evolving adulthood. It’s a rare thing for me to hold on to very much (both figuratively and literally) from one stage to the next but this bag is something I have not departed with almost thirty years.

Behold, the reminisce of the GI Joe Tomahawk chopper. Sadly, it all fits in a zip-lock bag.

Here we have the 18 point description of the helicopter and weaponry. You have to admit, this was a hell of a machine. It makes you wonder with crazy weapons like the “Laser-enhanced NVS (night vision system) 50 Cal Machine Gun” how they still couldn’t hit a Cobra trooper. Had they had some basic riflery range training, that show would have been a different cartoon.

Take a gander at all the cool tax-paid-parts that made this a formidable opponent on the battlefield. It looks heavy.

When you open the four page fold out we see the directions to put this behemoth together. I am sure this was the part that made Dad groan. And even with plenty of other toys on Christmas morning to keep my attention there was no way I would let Dad drink his eggnog in peace until every missile was on the winglets and every Joe was seated in the constructed ‘copter.

I believe that is how I was busted for peaking at the presents by whining to my father, “Come on Dad! I waited a whole three weeks for this! I mean…er…forever?”.

These toys were especially cool because each GI Joe had a back story. The pilot that came with the chopper was “Lift-Ticket” but his civilian name was Victor Sikorski, SSN# 675-51-5671, from Lawton, Oklahoma. I can see this was a little nudge to the makers of helicopters like the Tomahawk, Sikorsky.

I find it kind of neat that his story is pretty realistic from the way real Army pilots follow their profession. Opting out of Officer Candidate School and going to a Warrant Officer program was and is exactly how you become a pilot in the US Army. As a veteran, I get a little tickled how realistic the plot of Lift-Ticket’s life was. But that’s just the Army nerd in me. I won’t bore you with all that.

Stickers! Okay, decals. I never put decals on my toys. I did, however, decorate everything from my windows to books with them. I can’t tell you why but I am guessing that once Dad put the vehicles together, I wasn’t taking the time to stick warning signs next to the jet intake areas. My Joes knew not to stand there.

This is off topic but I was actually sent to the principal’s office for putting similar decals on the back of the bus’ windows. I had to scrub all the windows on the entire bus line that Friday. Looking back, I think that punishment was a bit  harsh. There is no way a kid today would be required to pay that price without the news being involved. What little pansies we raise today.

I forgot about these. Back in the 80’s we didn’t have this precious internet so we had to rely on good ol’ postal service. In every vehicle’s box had a card for mail-in points for impossible to find toys. Mostly, it was a Sgt. Slaughter campaign from his commercials and I was definitely a SGT. Slaughter B.A.T.T.L.E. Brigade member. All the way!

Seems a little weird that recently I met the Sergeant in the flesh. I am still a little put off by the smiley dick he drew for me. And his frill on his drill sergeant hat. All a bit strange. I am rethinking what his acronyms really meant now.

Lastly in the ziplock bag, we come to an actual part that I could never keep connected on the Tomahawk; the ramp. The little bastard kept opening mid-flight and in a fit of rage I tore it off and tossed it in the bind with all the miscellaneous guns and rockets from years of toy collecting. I told my platoon that seat belts were S.O.P (Standard Operating Procedure) from then on and I could calm my imagination and OCD.

These nostalgic posts always go from a scream to a whisper so I will leave you with this.

Eight fucking thousand dollars???

EDIT!!!

The Tomahawk was not $8000 but $1500. That gaint coffee table made to look like an aircraft carrier, The USS Flagg, was $8000. Still a lot of money, considering.

So…sorry about that.

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!

Today Veggie Turns Two

It’s true. This blog is now two and oddly enough this is the 200th post. Weird, huh?

I just wanted to thank everyone that has shared this with me. Some have come and gone and some have come and stayed but I will be honest, I never imagined that I would meet such amazing people on this www dot  journey. I am so blessed to be able to share my life and be able to share some of yours even though we may never meet. It’s weird wild world and this trip would be so less without all of you.

The funny thing is I misspelled “macabre” in the video. Of all things, you know? And I am not sure why Dire Straits is the anthem but it seems to fit the flow. Regardless, if you have been around over the past couple of years you may recognize many of these pictures.

Thank you again. I love ya from the bottom of the heart and I ain’t afraid to say it.

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