Snoopy Hot Dog Toaster

Welcome to the show my friends! I was struggling to find a good theme for these next couple of months which would bridge Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years but nothing seemed to fit. Then a stupid title kind of fell on my lap. Okay, my dog gave it to me but still, it was a struggle.

This year I am launching the Holiday Hell Show and it is incorporating everything silly and fun that a mid-30’s guy should not be involved in. I plan to have lots of fun with this especially since I feel like I missed most of the Halloween season. I imagine this is what an estranged and neglectful father does in his twilight years to his kid. Let’s do everything!!!

I know what you are thinking. “Whoa, dude. It’s just November and you are launching a holiday show?”


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Today I was checking out the local CVS for their holiday loot and found a line of Snoopy (Peanuts™) products. The one that stood out the most was a hot dog toaster that not only toasts the bun but the hot dog too! The idea of a cartoon dog on a toaster that also cooks meat was almost too much. And those on Twitter agree since my picture of it was retweeted almost thirty times. There’s definitely a market for hot dog toasters.

Come check out the first of many Holiday Hell Show posts. I cook hot dogs in my office. This all seems so right.

Second Verse

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The fog of a crazy October has lifted and in its wake of black and orange we now come to a sea of green and red. It is time to toss the Jack-o-Lanters aside and look to nervous turkeys under tall pines which we will chop down, drag in the house, place in water and electrify. This time of the year blends two holidays into one and I, for one, am okay with that.

If there is one thing that being a senior account executive has taught me, don’t over promise your hobbies. The career has a crazy way of stepping in front of grandious plans like a cat photobombing the camera as I practice my cartwheels for YouTube. As hard as I tried to film, edit, buy, review, travel and photo, a new project with over-ambitious people reared the head of un-fun work and most of October was late nights and work trips. I am not complaining but I think we have all been there if this is the medium for recreation.

Now that my sad sack story is done, I am ready for two months of festive fun. And there will be fun! Expect the first by midnight tonight. I have found a grocery store near me that goes shit-house mad with awesome Christmas party fun foods to review plus libations to cause embarrassment during the company holiday party. I have a bar to post these great eggnog drink concoctions now.

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.


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 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.

Thanksgiving, Muppet Family Christmas and a Magical Cat

I have learned over the years of blogging that a catchy title really makes a difference in readership. So, I suppose I need to produce a magic cat now. Okay, I don’t have a magic cat but I do have a picture of a very fat cat named Sox who let me dress him as a reindeer. He’s a good sport.

So, as I type this I am three beers and a whole turkey dinner into the holiday. We watched the Lions get beaten (again) and now it’s the third quarter of the last NFL game of the night. It’s always a little sad to carry the plate to the sink as we wave goodbye to another Thanksgiving, but to live is to die and now my focus is on Christmas entirely. And do you know what that means?  Nothing! I’ve been on Christmas since October 31st so making things official will just breed contempt for my last three weeks. No, I’ll just yap about my favorite holiday special of all time that, for some reason, isn’t very well-known. I hate that!

The Muppet Family Christmas was a gem of the mid-eighties that hasn’t had any air time in years. I don’t really know why because it is a true Jim Henson creation that combines not just the Muppets but Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock. As a child who relied on Sesame Street for basic reading and math, Muppets for what is relevent in entertainment and Fraggles for…what happens underground, this Christmas special was like the meeting of the titans for anyone who still wears Oshkosh overalls. It was and still is amazing. Let’s try to break down this very busy special.

We begin with the entire Muppet cast driving in an old beater with Fozzie at the wheel. Seems a bit senseless to put everyone in a truck, driven by a bear in a blinding snow storm but I need to remind myself that they are muppets. Anyway, the whole crew is singing carols and most jolly because they are headed to Fozzie’s mother’s house for a surprise Muppet family Christmas vacation. Only thing is…Fozzie’s mother took six months of surfing lessons soooo….

Wait a minute, this bear isn’t dressed for winter weather! Apparently, Momma Fozzie had other plans for Christmas and is packed and ready to leave for Malibu. The Muppets better hurry up or Animal will most likely shit on the doorstep out of sheer disappointment. But before she goes she needs to wait for her seasonal renters.

And the renters are none other than the antagonists from Fraggle Rock; Doc and Sprocket. I love Sprocket and he is by far, my favorite Henson character. Well, it looks like  Doc and dog are there for the goal of having a nice, quiet Christmas; far away from their Fraggle pests (so they think). Little do they know that in the driveway is about a hundred wild mutant creatures made of carpet with a showbiz talent coming to alter their intentions. Enter the Muppets.

Man, when a hundred of these things are in a room things get confusing. But knowing her plans for a tropical heat wave vacation is down the tubes and her six months of surf lessons are for not, she warmly welcomes all the “weirdos” much to the chagrin of Doc and Sprocket. But they get over it. By the way, where do you take surf lessons in the country?

In a humorous moment, Doc asks Sprocket if these are the Fraggles he has been trying to tell him about. Sprocket gives his best “sort of” shake of the hand. It’s about as cute as you can get.

So we have a house full of Muppets and one human minus one pig. It seems that Miss Piggy is still in the city finishing all the stuff a famous pig has to do. But it’s okay, she will be along shortly. Until then there are more visitors to come. Like this iconic Swedish character.

Boom! The Swedish Chef is in the house (after slipping on the icy patch) to cook the “gobbla gobbla Kreeesmas Tuuurkeeeee”. This is shaping up to be a special that doesn’t hold back. Of course shortly after his arrival the turkey himself shows up, sporting sunglasses and a tennis racket under the impression he was invited (by Chef of course) to a winter vacation. Greeted by Gonzo, he is warned of the impending doom that was to await him should he not leave, but his warnings go unheeded and the turkey blows off the danger. In an ironic statement Gonzo bids him farewell stating, “see you at dinner”. Hilarious.

Mean while in the kitchen, Kermit and his nephew Robbin share a touching and reflective moment as they sing “Jingle Bells” but are quickly interrupted by Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem and their version of “Jingle Bell Rock”. I never realized what an awesome band name that was until now. I wonder if they have an album? Seriously.

Slowly the Muppet family grows as Rowlf the Dog arrives and keeps the running gag alive by slipping on the icy patch at the door. He shares a humorous conversation with Sprocket as they  trade “Bark! bark! Yeah, woof! woof!”. Dog talk. Then Rowlf spots the piano and another musical starts and the scene slides to Fozzie and a snowman sing “Bear and a Snowman” and do a stand up comedy sketch that seems to go over well with all the wild animals outside.

After cracking up the muppet animals that can sing, talk and discern humor but apparently not wear clothes or live indoors, they take advice from a penguin and decide to continue the comedy team. Excited, Fozzie races to pass the idea by Kermit but havoc once again rears its head and the Swedish Chef is trying to cook Sprocket the dog after being tricked by the turkey. Doc intervenes and states, “I don’t care if the turkey says the dog is a turkey, the dog is not the turkey, the turkey is the turkey, you turkey.” Well said, Doc.

After that scuffle was resolved, Skeeter finds old muppet baby movies and everyone(thing) gathers in the den to watch. I maybe mistaken but I think this scene inspired the popular 80’s Saturday morning cartoon, Muppet Babies on ABC. Don’t hold me to that, but the timeline matches up.

So, guess what? Something else is happening! Man, this Christmas special has a lot going on and probably isn’t the best one to recap. Bare with me because this show has a special nostalgic connection and I think I maybe writing this tonight for myself rather than for entertainment value.

Great Ceasar’s dick! It’s the entire gang from Sesame Street and they are coming to celebrate Christmas with the Muppets in an already crowded country house.

In another endearing scene we see Bert and Ernie engage Doc in what they call “small talk” by informing him what every letter for every word he says begins with. Doc, seemingly in a much better mood, cheerfully states he’s off to build bunk beds which almost sends Bert and Ernie into hysterics by hitting a double ‘B’ word.

Again, we switch gears and we find the Swedish Chef has finally caught up with the sly turkey in the kitchen and he finally admits he is what he is. But, before accepting his fate he let’s the Chef know that he’s not the only fat bird in the house. “Gobbla Gobbla Humonga!”

Well, with all this goodwill through the house we need a subplot that brings worry to Kermit and that is the fact a huge blizzard approaching the house and Miss Piggy is still not there. We find this out by an emergency broadcast warning that barometers are falling sharply. Haha.

What makes this special…well…special is the interaction between all the Jim Henson characters. Like this priceless moment between Janice (Electric Mayhem guitarist) and the Cookie Monster.

Little does Janice know that she is offering cookies to a creature that would rip her arms out of socket for a crumb. Cookie Monster ravages the cookies as Janice could do nothing but look in shock. This scene is worth a thousand words but I feel I am only worthy enough to dedicate fifty.

With the weather cold enough to “freeze your winnebego” Kermit becomes increasingly worried about Miss Piggy. This is a perfect opportunity for Fozzie to distract Kermit from his worries and introduce his new comedy act. But little does he know his nemesis critics have joined the festivities and are waiting for something like this. And boy do they rip the bear and snowman a new one!

While the critics stomp the piss out of Fozzie and the Snowman’s comedy sketch, Big Bird checks out the kitchen, unknowingly into the clutches of the Swedish Chef who wants to serve him as the Christmas bird. But, as disarming as Big Bird is in nature, he gives the Chef chocolate covered bird seed because he knew his home was far away in Sweden and this gesture took the Chef off guard as the two engage in, you guessed it, a song.

I remember this scene as being one of the funniest as a kid because hearing the Swedish Chef sing “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” is about the most hilarious thing I can think of. Today, I wonder if he really was singing is Swedish or it’s just a lot of made up gibberish. If it was real, man, Sweden got fucked on a language.

Big Bird inadvertently saved his beak and the Chef decided to cook “Cran un boochers” or as we call it, shredded wheat and cranberries, which just happens to be Big Birds favorite. I think everyone else is going to be pissed.

Well, the weather just isn’t letting up and Kermit is getting more and more anxious by the minute. Doc sees the worried frog and offers to go out and look for Miss Piggy. In a momentary loss of his mind he asks how he should recognize her to which Kermit replies, “she’s a pig”. Brilliant. It’s nice to see Doc taking to the weirdos.

After Doc leaves, Kermit’s annoying cousin Scrappy…er…Robin calls him downstairs to investigate something he found. It looks to be something Kermit had told Robin about in stories and that is a genuine…

…Fraggle cave. I had no idea these Muppet/Henson creatures knew about each other. Then again, I had no idea that a 33-year-old guy could care about this. (me) But I do.

Robbin and Kermit explore the cave for approximately three seconds before running into a family of Fraggles. They, of course, broke into a song about the Fraggle version of Christmas and how they too share the tradition of giving. Their’s, however, kind of sucks because all they do is re-gift an orange pebble over the past thirty-seven years. If they knew about a Muppet’s Christmas that pebble would be passed to no one.

There’s a commotion happening upstairs and the frogs have to depart from the Fraggle cave but not before they give Robbin the pebble in the spirit of their godless holiday. There goes that thirty-seven year tradition.

Well look is tardy to the fuckin’ party? Miss Pig! And she managed to talk Doc into dressing up like some Canadian Mounty. I would have liked to have seen that. Do you think the old guy stripped down to his briefs in a blizzard just because a pig asked? I bet she is packing heat and Doc had one option or face a chance of being found in April when the snow dunes melt.

The next ten minutes of this special is filled with about twenty Christmas songs while the entire muppet family sits in the living room. Any other movie, this would be unbearable. But because it’s the Muppets, this scene is amazing. I, at times, turn this part of the movie on just for the music and drink my eggnog. I love it.

The last scene is my favorite. In fact, it’s the entire reason I wrote this painfully long and redundant recap of this special. I get teary every time I see it. A cameo by the creator and largest part of my childhood entertainment made this show. Jim Henson was a good man who made educational shows, bridged gaps in a racial divide, inspired creativity and blessed my childhood with an array of iconic characters. Of all the imaginateers and creators, his death was the hardest for me. I think maybe it was the thought that all these Muppets no longer have their creator behind the magic and in a way, they passed too. But we have this to remind us that imagination never really dies and that, I can be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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