lovehate: The Alphabet by James Earl Jones

I have no idea why, but this clip of James Earl Jones reciting the alphabet used to scare the living shit out of me as a 3 year old. I used to running out of the room screaming. So I decided to return to the fears of my youth and do some intricate deconstruction as to why a young Canadian boy who watched Sesame Street 3 hours a day would have such a reaction.

Theory One:
The Helvetica font was far too angular and stern for a young tyke. Where was the Comic Sans of the late 60s? I don't want a letter "A" I could impale myself on. I think kids need a serif once in a while.

Theory Two:
Although the film wouldn't come out for several years, I had already anticipated that this voice was the voice that would make a galaxy tremble and threaten the extinction of the Jedi Knights. I mean, it looks like he's wearing an outfit that could be reminiscent of Dark Side devotee... either that or Steve Jobs, which is scary in itself.

Theory Three:
James Earl Jones seriously looks like he wants to beat the shit out of me. Not you, but just me. In between the letters, he actually told me so. I swear that when I was 3, I heard: "A... hey Anthony... B... I'm coming by your house... C... and I'm gonna kick your ass... D... and steal all your toys... E... and, by the way... F... Santa and the Easter Bunny aren't real..." You get the picture.

I'm not sure which of the theories is true, if not all three. All I know is that I'm putting together a class action suit against The Children's Television Workshop. I'm naming Mr. Hooper, Bert, the Estate of Jim Henson, and Count von Count specifically in the suit. Not for any particular reason, other than I hope to get an offer of settlement so I don't have to waste all my money on legal fees.

If anyone would like to join my class action suit, and contribute to the legal fund, please feel free to contact me by giving me your information in the comments below. Please do not use capital letters as they still kind of freak me out.

Mr. Jones, I hold no ill contempt against you. You were only being the professional actor you were paid to be. When I find the name of the director, however, vengeance will be mine as I tie them down and make them listen to Rosie Perez read them all of the Inuit words for snow.

lovehate: 10 Memories of a Childhood Candyland

Every kid likes candy. If you didn't like candy, it's because you lost your taste buds in a horrible smelting accident. I remember growing up with candy type that I just can't find anymore, or, if they are around, they don't seem as cool as they used to be. Now I'm not talking chocolate bars here; that's its own special category. I'm talking compressed, molded sugar of various artificial flavors.

Gold Rush Gum

The packaging is what made this gum desirable. If memory serves, the gum was crap. But what kid wouldn't love a cool little candy bag with a drawstring to keep when the were done. P erhaps this same design ploy was attached to Crown Royal as I got older.

Koo Koo

This Neopolitan Choco-Vanilla-Strawberry striped taffy was all the rage for a short time and was visually appealing because for the same price as a package of smaller candy, the surface area alone would draw you in. The taffy was about what you'd expect in a mashed down strip wherein the "flavors" really didn't taste to different from each other. I, in fact, once rolled up the taffy into a ball to prove to a friend there really wasn't a tremendous value in this landing strip confection. Now that was a helluva taffy ball chew to get through.

Bottle Caps

Bottle Caps were absolutely awesome! Here was a candy, shaped like bottle caps, that actually had a lingering taste of the pop they were supposed to represent. I can imagine the marketing wizards sitting around a table coming up with these: "Here's an idea! Let's pack some solid sugar together to taste like liquid sugar!" If parents tell their kids not to drink too much pop, they can enjoy Bottle Caps instead.

Sweet Tarts

Not much deception in the name here. They were sweet. They were tart. They were different colors, but the colors seemed inconsequential. You would inevitably be enjoying the sweet flavor with mild amount of sour along the way until you got down to where you bit the candy. Then it was all over. You could rarely stop from making the "sour" face as the powdered explosion hit your taste buds. Happy times!

Pop Rocks

Still legendary. The source of many a mythological horror story about the kid who put 8 packs of Pop Rocks in his mouth and drank a can of Coke. It was kin d of like the candy version of Bloody Mary. In fact, the myth went so far as to claim it cost the life of Life Cereal spokeskid Mikey: "His head blew up! Hey Mikey!" The taste was meaningless. Pop Rocks were the Mexican Jumping Beans of your mouth. How much cooler could it get?

Popeye Candy Cigarettes

Screw health and political correct candy. If I was too scared to get caught smoking, I certainly wasn't too scared to pretend I was with candy cigarettes. The sad thing is they forced a name change to "candy sticks". Really? Did they honestly that candy sticks shilled by the ugliest sailor on the high seas was going to be a "gateway" snack to a nicotine fix. I mean, it's not like the character had ever been used before to shill something equally distasteful like vegetables or something... wait... never mind. Forget about smoking. The candy itself probably had more damaging substances than the average cigarette. Check out the ingredients on that package: corn starch, sugar, corn syrup, palm oil, gelatine, artificial flavors and colors... REALLY? ARTIFICIAL? Who would've guessed this wouldn't have the all natural tastes of tar and tobacco?

Hubba Bubba

Yeah, Bubblicious was cool as well, but Hubba Bubba had a name that rhymed, and for a single-digit aged kid, that's all it took. The bubble were no-stick as well. In as much as I loved Double Bubble and the enclosed comic strips growing up, Hubba Bubba was that next-gen late 70's breakthrough of square gum that burst on the scene with a bunch of groovy commercials.

Starburst Fruit Chews

Alright, I know that any candy that has fruit in the name should never pass a kid's lips, but that was the ploy of the name. By putting the word "fruit" in it, not only could you tell your parents you ate fruit with lunch, but you could also live under the illusion that your logic in convincing them that the "real" fruit in the flavoring MUST be healthy for you.

"Capsule" Candy

This is more of a category wrap up than an individual candy. The pill-like confections in boxes like Mike and Ike's, Goodies, Good & Plenty, and Hot Tamales were much more of a threat than Popeye cigarettes. These "pills" allowed you to "be like mom" in popping your candy valium or Contact C for the day. Lookie like every "diet pill" that was ever made, in many of the same colors, it's a small wonder these were allowed to live on. Maybe if they called them Betty Boop's Secret Pill Stash Candy, they would've been outlawed.

Life Savers

We had a Life Saver factory in my hometown of Hamilton, Ontario. The Life Saver Christmas Book, containing ten rolls, was the most popular gift during the in-class gift exchange growing up... although 8 year-olds have a hard time getting past Butter Rum. Life Savers crossed over in pop culture in a huge way when the inspirational "Have a Life Saver, maybe it'll make you feel better" was used as one of the greatest punchlines on Happy Days. Wayda go Mr. C!

thinglets: Muppets do Mad Men

You know what? I've given up on Saturday Night Live for my parody and satire. I'm turning to Sesame Street from now on. Sure it may be skewed to children, but at least I expect it. SNL, who should be trying to skew towards me, ends up hitting the lowest common denominator which is far below children and, most often, insulting. If you're a fan of Mad Men - enjoy!

thinglets: The Bic Pen Orange Peel Gun

I'll never forget the months in elementary school where grade seven students became aware of physics became aware of the power of compressed air. I have no idea who passed down the sacred knowledge of the Bic Pen Orange Peel Gun, but it surely was the bane of many a teacher's existence at my school. It was MacGyver before the show existed. They actually banned oranges for a short period of time from lunches because they were finding mini orange peel bullets everywhere - plus, it was easier to ban orange peel than pens. You would be shocked at how much fun these could be in a school that was designed "open-concept". One could launch peel from the Grade One area to the Grade Six area with a proper arc and sufficient thrust... sorry... that sounded dirty. I hope my indiscretion didn't cause this post to lose its "ap-peel".

The Weapon:

One Bic Pen (see below) - although not essential, it was often preferable to have the pen with the small hole half way up the casing to help ease the pneumatic effect when loading. It could be easily covered to ensure full pressure upon firing.

The Ammo:

One Orange Peel (see below) - the thicker the peel, the better. Remember, the ammo has to hold the air in the cylinder when plunged.


Luckily enough, someone else beat me to it. So YouTube, bring it on home.

thinglets: Eleven Freakiest General Mills Cereal Characters

(In no specific order - thanks to Topher's Cereal Character Guide for pics and info)

The Lucky Charms Leprechaun

Not because he looked any freakier than any other leprechaun, but more the pervy way he was after MY Lucky Charms all the time.

Okay, all the Monster Cereals by General Mills were infinitely cool and hold a nostalgic place in my memory. I even set up a Facebook page in their honor. And while they were all creepy, Frankenberry was the most freaky. Frankenstein's monster had nothing on the pink, doughy-looking, metamorphosis that was Frankenberry.

Sir Grapefellow and Baron Von Redberry
Let's celebrate WWI flying aces with crazy fruit cereal. If I don't like the cereal, will they be strafing my front lawn?

Crazy Cow
This bi-polar buck-toothed freakshow would turn your milk chocolate or strawberry depending on which side it/they were facing - Sybil anyone? 

Colonel Corn Burst and Hattie the Alligator
What demented mind put this pair together? You've got a crudely-drawn alligator that's about to turn its head and swallow a microscopic adventurer. Either of these characters would be freaky enough in their own right. Together they're a total "corny" burst.

Cheeri O'Leary and Joe Idea
A demented beauty pageant tart and a boy who looks like he's got a John Merrick thing going on... yeah, that'll sell me Cheerios!

Mr. Wonderfull
From Mr. Wonderfull's Surprize Cereal, not only did he preach the doctrine of incorrect spelling, but here's a perv that needs be put into a registry before he moves into your neighborhood.

Magic Hat
Cool beer. Psychotropic-induced cereal character. Don't take the brown acid folks.

thinglets: Electra Woman and Dyna Girl meet Leonardo Da Vinci

A wicked retro trip back to Saturday morning in the 70s. The Krofft Supershow had a host of cheesy parts that made up the epic entertainment experience, but perhaps the cheesiest was Electra Woman and Dyna Girl. And as the post title indicates, in this clip they follow the Sorcerer who's bent on traveling through time to steal the Mona Lisa from Leonardo Da Vinci.

Start digging on the wrist communicators - you KNOW you want one!

thinglets: Bimbo the Freakshow Birthday Clown

I grew up with this demented, surrealistic freakshow called The Uncle Bobby Show every day as a kid. I don't think it ever extended outside of Canada. You know that creepy, perv uncle in everyone's family... this is him.

If you want to subject yourself to a WTF? moment or two as you watch the daily Birthday celebration from a host I'm sure was polluted beyond belief and a guest "Birthday Picker" who looks like she rolled out of his dressing room two minutes earlier, you gotta check this out.

Bimbo the clown looks like a hobo on a ripple bender and the crazy marionettes that fall from the ceiling are the icing on the demented cake - enjoy!

thinglets: Polka Dot Door - Polkaroo In Space

Okay, if you weren't from Canada (and specifically Ontario) you may have never seen the Polka Dot Door while growing up. And, if you never saw the Polka Dot Door, you never saw Polkaroo. Polkaroo was one of the best legal trips one could have as a kid. Always a bit surreal and bit insane, the Polkaroo could express a million thoughts with any number of well-placed instances of the ubiquitous "Polkaroo".

Take the three minute trip of this video clip, or, to translate: "Polkaroo? Polkaroo!"

thinglets: The Kingdom of Could Be You

The first episode of this PSA, between-Saturday-morning-cartoon, episodic from 1972. I still remember the theme song from this years later. There's no way I remember the original air date as it must have run for several years, but I was just happy when I didn't have to watch "In the News" sponsored by Kellog's.

I think this was on sometime after Speed Buggy and before the The Krofft Supershow... ah, it brings me back to a happy place.