Holiday Cheer From Yesteryear

I am about to enter into a week of work-hell so before I checkout starting Sunday through next Saturday, I thought I might link you to some past Thanksgiving-Holiday-Christmas posts from years past. It’s a cheap filler but if you have not read them, here is chance to grow your heart three sizes and decorate the dog.

Click the images to be whisked away to magical holiday…just click the images.

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A couple of years ago I wrote 1100 words describing a one minute McDonald’s commercial from 1987. Back before the war against McDonald’s, kids had a special love for the restaurant. Every holiday season, these types of commercials left an indelible impression on us. I still remember most of them, mentally linking the airing to certain CBS holiday programming like Garfield’s Christmas or How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It was a simple time with simple pleasures like tearing up to Hardnose Mrs. Hatcher and her third grade class.

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Oh my gorsh, the Muppet Family Christmas is my favorite holiday special. It’s the king and if you have never seen it, I weep for you. Jim Henson goes full nuclear on us by bringing together the Muppets, Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock under one roof for a Christmas never to be equaled again. We even get a little cameo from the master himself and if you have a dry eye, you have no soul.

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Back before I knew the magic of Black Friday, I created a list of things I would rather do than subject myself to the herd of crazy bargain shoppers. Then, last year, the girl I was dating at the time introduced me to alcohol while shopping and I finally got it. Look for me at Target come 12:01am this coming Black Friday. I’ll be wearing something stupid and drinking a Big Gulp cup full of margarita.

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Years ago I was in a bidding war on eBay for an ugly Christmas sweater. When the price got to $200 I backed out and lost the bid. Thank God because then I would have never had the motivation to create this monstrosity. AND, get “pinned” on Pintrest over 300,000 times. Sometimes fame comes in weird forms.

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Hey, did you know certain European countries believed St. Nick had a demon sidekick that would kill and rape the bad kids? Yeah, it’s not bad enough to be screwed out of gifts because you didn’t finish your peas but get violated and killed by Krampus? Damn Christmas, you scary.

So there you go.

 

Target’s Holiday Heat: Hot Sauce Variety Pack

It’s been a slow kickoff for the new holiday blogger-anza (made that up) but don’t fret, I have something that not only sings to my heart, it sings to my esophagus. Ever have something sing to your esophagus? It’s weird because you sing using esophagus. I have derailed.

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This year Target is offering an array of various hot sauces with different flavors and levels of heat in their “Holiday Heat” variety pack. I love spicy condiments so much I am pretty sure I haven’t had plain food in twenty years. Shit, I might not even like chicken! The fact that this is married with Christmas, I can’t even feel my legs from the excitement.

There are ten, count them, ten bottles of pain. Each on has a different flavor from the pepper variety and obvious heat level. I thought I would list each one with a paragraph explaining why my mouth is on fire but I figured that would fly for three of them. Ten bottles, however, I need to make this a bit more entertaining. That is why you notice the video below.

Nevermind, I just shot a video and it’s as repetitive and stupid as I imagined it to be. You’re getting a seven bottle countdown with the three hottest reserved for a video. Too much of both is a problem so I have spread out the pain.

Enjoy this and get this holiday pack even if it’s just to decorate your childish office.

Snowman Meltdown Zest Garlic

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Is there anything better than a murdered snowman on the front of a hot sauce bottle? It puts a morbid spin on the classic Frosty the Snowman cartoon and song. Imagine if hunting stores had Rudolf carcasses displayed? Actually, they probably would do that, having lived in the Northwest for a while.

At first taste, it was extremely tart with no heat but soon after the garlic hits you and doesn’t leave for three days. I ended up taking down half the bottle in a desperate search for the spice but in the end, all I had was bad breath and a pucker face. This sauce is great against vampires but horrible against your self respect.

Mistletoe Madness Garlic Cayenne

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Aw horse shit, more garlic? I just got over the last bottle thanks to sucking on a two-day old coffee filter. I understand the point of garlic flavoring but perhaps I should have spaced these two apart. I have to be on a plane tomorrow and I don’t need the attendant button pushed on me because I am sweating garlic.

Mistletoe Madness Garlic Cayenne is pretty tasty, less sour and garlic from the last but not hot at all. I don’t know what I am expecting out of this holiday pack. I guess I like hyperventilating and involuntary diarrhea?

Chimney Inferno Smokey Chipotle 

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Finally, I am out of garlic infused breath death and on to something totally new. Chipotle!

Am I the only one who can not say chipotle? I feel that I am not alone on this. Anyway, this smoky sauce is pretty tasty and sweet for a designated “hot sauce”. I wouldn’t apply it everywhere but in some cases like chicken or fish, I probably would lean to that. In other words, I wouldn’t kick it out of bed for eating crackers. And it’s also not spicy. NO!

Seasonal Disturbance Jalapeño Fire

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OOOH! !t’s Linda Blair green and looks like a potential for a possible win. I have a thing for green hot sauces and to be honest, that’s one of the weirder things about me. Do you believe that? I think it’s just because the thought of applying green sauce to normal tacos makes me feel more extraterrestrial.

Well, it ain’t verde. Or is it? No, I think it just looks and tastes like it.

So far there has been zero heat with these reviewed sauces and it’s sucking my will to live.

Yule Be Sorry Spicy Pepper

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If this sucks at least it still has the best name of the batch.

It sucks. And I am sorry.

Holiday Madness Original Tabasco Pepper

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Whoa, bringing out the tabasco peppers with is one! I don’t know if that makes a difference or if it just makes me feel a little more comfortable knowing “tabasco” is on the label. I am the type of person who will probably eat spagetti if it boasts that it is made with real Coke rather than cola. It’s a horrible comparison but sadly accurate.

I don’t know how to say this without sounding like a person who should never review such products but this is exactly the same as Snowman Meltdown. I mean, it’s not even slightly different and now my breath smells like a dogs ass again. Both of my mutts are looking to stick their noses in my mouth.

Ho Ho Hot Jalapeño Pepper

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Uh oh, I have a feeling this might be a repeat as well. It looks the exact same as the Seasonal Distrurbance even using the exact same ingredience and sodium level. Unless this as magic, I expect this to be a repeated bottle only better looking. I mean it, the other green jalapeño bottle looks like early 90’s Southwestern decor.

Well, slap my hammies and call me Chair, it is the same! I recognize that tart non-spicy green sauce of the deep anywhere. It’s good on bland wheat crackers and the last shred of hope I had for this pack. Happy Christmas!

Okay, we have come to the last three. Well, two. I left one out because IT IS THE EXACT SAME AS ALL THE OTHERS! Here is a short video featuring me and an old man who damn near killed himself thinking he was tougher than he really was. I have to admit, I admire the old bastard.

In closing I will give this pack a multi-tier grade because it is unfair to hammer hot sauce holiday variety pack because the concept is something that is the soul of VeggieMacabre. The soul.

A- It’s a variety pack

A- It’s hot sauce

A- It’s holiday themed

G (below F)- Because it’s says “Hot” too much and it is not. Never absolutely never not hot it isn’t.

H (Below a G)- All the sauces are the same except in different bottles.

 

 

 

Jumping From One To The Next

It was a great run we had this Halloween season. Even though I was away on business the last week and traveled the whole day of Halloween, it was one for the books. I definitely want to thank you for hanging around and being apart of the celebration. I might not know you personally but I definitely feel we shared a special time this season. So bring it in and let’s hug.

NOW…no more talk about Halloween until next August. We have important work to do.

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Welcome to the next fun and from now until December 25th, we will be talking about all things Christmas and Thanksgiving. I know you might think it’s a little early but in my mind, if the stores are pushing chocolate covered reindeer, it’s okay for me too. I have put together a pretty extensive list to cover and much fun will be had.

You may have noticed the Canada Dry Cranberry Ginger Ale above with my pot roast backdrop. I am not sure if this is a seasonal beverage or if it is a constant but to me, this is only a November-December drink. That always makes something a little more special. Just like drinking a cool glass of eggnog at a 4th of July pool party probably would lessen the feeling come this time of the year. Not to mention that’s kind of gross.

Since Cranberry Ginger Ale has been on the market for a few Christmas seasons, I don’t feel the need to review it but I will say that you need to have this in your fridge. If nothing more, its color screams Yuletide.

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Now this is what I want to review. I heard about Sprite jumping on the cranberry train like Sierra Mist and 7-UP but didn’t think it would arrive at the store so early. I was pleasantly surprised to buy it when I came home from my trip last week and immediately shot a picture to Matt over at Dinosaurdracula.com. It looks like I was tardy to the party, however, because he already tried it. I am always a day late and a dollar short when new products are introduced. I’ll review it anyway.

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I had high expectations for this because I like Sprite a bit more than one should. The red label makes for a pretty damn attractive bottle though it’s contents is clear unlike other cranberry soft drinks. Please great Almighty, make this taste amazing.

Hrm. After having a glass I stood there for a while not sure what to think. I liked it, there was no question about that but was it “blow your socks off slap your mama shoot a gun” good like I was hoping? Not really.

I couldn’t grasp the cranberry taste and perhaps it was because I bought full-on fat kid Sprite rather than the diet or Zero version. Usually the diet versions are less sugary and more tartness and in the cranberry soda world, that makes big difference.

So, I give it 7.5 out of 10. I do like it but if given a choice, I would probably take the advise of the Holiday Hawk.

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.

Coming Soon!

Hey there. The new post on the “Cheap Christmas Countdown” is posting in a bit. What are we up to…day seven? I think so. Well, anyway, here is Brian’s latest awesome post from yesterday. Merry Gum Balls! You know what that means.

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Click on Brian

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