I visited one of the great temples of Panera earlier this week. Glory glory is the bounteous You Pick Two deal. It was a chilly day, and so I strayed from my trusty half Bacon Turkey Bravo and ordered the vegan Autumn Squash soup instead and paired with my regular order of chicken Caesar salad (86 Caesar dressing, sub Asian Sesame). I chose iced tea to drink with my meal and found a cozy seat in the “study nook.” When my magic square oracle vibrated I claimed my food and retired back to my nook. The salad was as crisp as ever, and the Asian dressing substitute added the vinegary tang I so desire when eating plants. But it wasn’t until I grasped my spoon and plunked it into the bowl of vegan Autumn Squash soup that I felt the goddess enter my being. The dandelion-colored soup slid down my esophagus like a silk Grecian robe, tickling my velvet insides, until I was forced to cry out, “OH GREAT CORNUCOPIA OF ABUNDANCE!” It was that glorious. And the bread. What a hunk. Soft, pale, delectable – like Eric Northman’s flaccid penis. I could not dunk and swallow fast enough. It was not until every crumb of baguette, heart of romaine, and drop of soup was gone did I realize my spiritual experience was far from over – the drink station has iced coffee! So toasty and well-balanced, a deliciously motivating take-away from my café experience.
Now, and forever more, in the darkest pools of hunger, I look to nourish my mind, body, and spirit within the hearth of the great café goddess.
A towering congratulations are in order for NYC’s World Trade Center I today as it was proclaimed the shaftiest in all the land. Measuring 1,776 feet, it beat out Chicago’s Willis Tower that comes in at a wussy 1,451 feet tall. But however meaty, er, mighty the defeat, there’s still one structure that’s getting a rise in the headlines.
The Illinois Christian Science church looks like a big ol dick, y’all! The phallic structure was one-eyed on Google Earth last month and promptly popped up all over social media. And if penis puns weren’t easy enough, the church is located in a town named Dixon. BOING!
As a child I think I always feared getting older because it meant you became disinterested in fun kid things like toys. I can’t completely blame self-fulfilled prophecy, but it happened. I spent years constructing an immense Lego kingdom in my bedroom, and by the dawning of what I dub today as the Tween Age, it had fallen into disregard. I remember turning fourteen and struggling with the thought of my kingdom’s deconstruction. In a final effort to regain some sense of childhood nobility, I sat down determined to play with my toys again. I picked up the figurines and started to move them, speak through their little bowl-shaped, half parenthesis mouths, but it was all for nothing. No words came. I was blocked. I returned the trio of good guys to their bunks, took stock of their armory, library, laboratory, stables, garages and landing platforms, and began disassembling what seemed like a lifetime of joy, brick by multicolored brick. It was depressing. I still walk down the Lego aisle every time I go to Target just to reminisce and marvel at all the new innovations. The Lego sets available today are amazing! What adventures my heroes and foes could’ve had with lightsaber accessories, and batcaves, and Avenger outfits?! It’s almost overwhelming, but equally refreshing because some of the familiar characters and sets on shelves today are derived from popular CARTOONS!
Fortunately for me (and most everyone else), television remains an entertainment staple as the years roll by, and because of that, my adoration of cartoons never dissipated. Cartoons of my youth (80s/early 90s) were, by far and away, the golden age of animation. I had the Disney line-up after school and on the weekends, which included classics like Duck Tales, Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers, Tale Spin, Darkwing Duck, and my personal favorite, The Gummi Bears. Then there was The Real Ghostbusters, G.I. Joe, Voltron, and Transformers. Let’s see, what else? Oh yeah, how could I forget, Heathcliff, Garfield and Friends, Inspector Gadget, Snorks, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Muppet Babies . . . the list could go on, and it’s all quality toonage, most of which have such imaginative and elaborate story lines that they could be shared over and over again. I guess that’s why it’s no surprise they have! In the past decade, a few of my all-time favorite childhood cartoons have been given a new life! RE-ANIMATED, if you will, as a reminder, that some precious pieces of youth NEVER DIE!
HE-MAN and the Masters of the Universe
I excitedly snatched up the Best of HE-MAN and the Masters of the Universe DVD a few years back and was so shocked when I watched it. I didn’t remember HE-MAN being so . . . GAY. I mean, it just all clicked in a way my six- year-old brain couldn’t comprehend. The furry boots and briefs, the chest harnesses, Man-at-Arms’s porn star mustache.
Watching Prince Adam transform into HE-MAN was like a reverse drag show. Prince Adam, in his lavender tights, pulls out his sword, screams like a butt plug is being rocketed into his rectum, then goes from platinum blonde and pasty, to a stacked, goldenrod leather daddy. His riding posture didn’t leave much for the imagination, either. Don’t get me wrong, I love/d every single bit of it, but in hindsight, the 80s animators probably had plenty ‘hinds in sight. And thankfully, like a backstage costume change before the big Cher finale, there was a re-boot.
The updated version of HE-MAN and the Masters of the Universe aired on Cartoon Network in 2002. While paying homage to the original TV series, it deviates from it’s roots by introducing individual character origins (like how Skeletor became so skeletal), and debuts familiar faces from the popular toy line that never appeared before. Also, in non-hero mode, the re-boot’s Prince Adam takes the appearance of an adolescent boy, and grows physically in age and mass when he HAS THE POWER! (some “phallicies” remain integral to the plot line)
Teela, Man-at-Arms’s daughter, and Prince Adam’s daily deposit to the spank bank, remains my favorite character in the show. She’s still a feisty red-head, and one bad ass bitch with a cobra stick! And the show wouldn’t be complete without Orko, a Trollan wizard that basically practices the role of the fool. He provides comic relief and a magical element that keeps the series very imaginative and light-hearted.
Like the HE-MAN re-boot, the ThunderCats are edgier than ever before. Their appearance is sharper and more youthful than their 80s counterparts, and taking another note from the HE-MAN remake, their attire is far less crotchy. The original series pilot episode, “Exodus” was actually my first real look at nudity as a child — haha, does that make it kitty porn? In the episode, the ThunderCats have escaped their home planet of Thundera, which has been destroyed, and are all assembled on the flagship’s main deck, bare-furred. I always got really giggly and aroused in that scene; and strangely confused, especially by Cheetara, mostly because I knew boobs had nipples, and she had none, let alone eight.
The ThunderCats re-boot explores individual character origins, much like HE-MAN, but changes major plot-lines and character relations as well. The first, and most apparent, is that Lion-O and Tygra are brothers (Tygra is adopted) and princes of Thundera.
The ThunderCats also never escape their home planet after an attack and stumble upon Third Earth. Instead, Thundera is now located on the planet Third Earth. Still, there is a great battle with the mutants, where their father, the king, is killed, and their kingdom is destroyed. Jaga, the king’s advisor, is also the leader of the clerics, a band of mystical warriors charged with the defense of Thundera. After the battle, Cheetara is one of the only surviving clerics, which is an interesting and obvious fact considering her extraordinary speed. Panthro was a loyal solider in the king’s army that questions Lion-O’s ability to lead, but eventually relents. Panthro is still best known for building and piloting the cat’s hot whip, the Thunder Tank. In my opinion, Mumm-ra remains one of the freakiest villains in cartoon history. Both his frail, red-cloaked mummified appearance, and his spike-toothed titan form of Mumm-Ra the Everliving still raise the fur on my back. The mutants in this version are a little more fearsome. They aren’t quite as bumbling and afraid, which I sincerely despise in any antagonist.
The spry and mischievous pick-pocket twin kittens, Wiley Kit and Wiley Kat actually join the band of Thundercats later in the episode after the battle. Perhaps one of my favorite overall adjustments to the series takes the form of Lion-O’s faithful friend and doting caregiver, Snarf. In the original series, Snarf, like Orko, provided a lot of comic relief through his scaredy cat antics, but in the re-boot, Snarf has been given a unique makeover. He’s gone from an annoying fluff lizard to a caffeinated Pokemon. It’s difficult to see that as a vast improvement, but it is, which is hard when a creature’s name is coincidentally, the only sound it can make.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
My #1 dream job right now is to work in any sector of the MLPFIM franchise. I love love love this cartoon. It’s the perfect amalgam of youth, humor, color, imagination, mythology, history and pop culture. It’s incredibly witty and well-written. The series is set in Ponyville, a small town in the land of Equestria (Canterlot is the capitol!), and focuses on the everyday happenings of a small herd of ponies that have formed a unique friendship despite their many differences.
There four main types of ponies in Equestria: Earth, Unicorn, Pegasus and Flutter (there are other minor types, like Big Brother ponies, or “Bronies” is a type of male pony that has spawned a separate gay following, but that’s fodder for an entirely separate blog post :). Similar to the 80s rendition, with deliciously labeled lead roles like Lickety Split and Cherries Jubilee, the re-hooved version features Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie and Apple Jack, which all sound like recipes and ingredients that could be found in an Elton John cookbook. Also, the ever-identifiable cutie marks play a central role as they relate each pony with their separate name and trait. For example, the brilliantly quick, headstrong flutter pony, Rainbow Dash’s cutie mark is a cloud expelling a rainbow-colored lightning bolt.
Apart from an updated look (check out the fabulous mane and tails-dos!), the show manages to cut the cutesy sweetness with an in-depth look at the characters (as you can tell by now, it’s all about the character development) and adventurous settings. Take it from a 31 year old man, this cartoon is for EVERYPONY!
Re-Toon to Sender
Unfortunately, there are a few re-dos that I am incredibly underwhelmed with. Some toons are best left in the past.
Dogs in clothes are waaay “Cooler.” HELLO! If they can talk, they probably have some sense of fashion. Quit barking up the wrong tree.
I’m a sucker for floppy bonnets and visible stitching (hey, we all know that plastic surgery was still a new practice in the 80s), but this new S.S. has lost the endearing baby fat (undoubtedly from shoving a finger down her throat), and that Junior Miss getup just makes her look easy. Excuse me, ma’am, Strawberry Shortcake is your full name, not just a moniker for your muffin!
The Care Bears
Care Bear stare? I think not! Crappy digital animation bear-ly makes me care-a-lot.
A recent study has sparked another connection in the keen communication skills of nature’s sweetest partnership – the bee and the bloom – and get this, it’s ELECTRIC! Most of us already know that bees can sense a flower’s nectar through fragrance (that’s a given), and that they can harness the ultraviolet spectrum to find patterns on flowers that we human folk can’t see (so rad), but the discovery that flowers use their electric charge (flowers have an electric charge?!) to attract bees is absolutely SHOCKING!
See what all the buzz buzz is about by clicking the link beelow 🙂
So it’s St. Valentine’s Day again. A holiday some see as cheap, outdated, and as manufactured as those chalky heart candies with sappy phrases on them like “Be Mine,” or “Fax Me.” I actually L-O-V-E the novelty aspect of holidays. It allows me to segment seasons and adorn my mental calendar with cute symbols like stars, hearts, and horseshoes, clovers and blue moons. Wait . . . that’s Lucky Charms. Well, you get the picture. Holidays are great time markers, and, for many, Valentine’s Day is that kitschy, kissy, mushy, gushy, knick-knack-paddy-wack-give-your-man-some-bone kind of celebrations. It’s the Queen of Hearts in the holiday hierarchy. I remember the excitement of handing out my Duck Tales and Captain Planet valentines in the second and third grades. And getting $5 and a sentimental card from my grandmother every year. And reading the Whitman’s Sampler chocolate chart like a treasure map. In high school, my best friend and I licked the red letters off those heart candies, re-wrote messages like “Eat Me,” and left them in random places for people to find. It’s those fond memories that have always set the day apart for me and made it a treat. Now don’t get it twisted, I understand the marketing aspect of Valentine’s Day, too. I see it just like every other holiday — arriving three months early — screaming into a megaphone: THE MORE YOU SPEND, THE MORE YOU CARE! followed by that annoying Parisian police siren. I totally see it as a means for big business to turn a profit. Some people feel really pressured by that aspect, or hate that the man is pressuring them to prove their commitment through purchases, but I don’t buy into that, “Valentine’s Day was created by card makers,” stuff. Not because I don’t believe it’s true, but because I literally don’t buy it. I JUST ENJOY THE HELL OUT OF SEEING IT. So peep this, sweethearts — in honor of the big V, let’s gain a little perspective on how our history of this celebration has always been a little bit sweet and a little bit fucked up via some of my favorite vintage valentines from the past. A time when . . .
food puns were in vogue and extra corny . . .
spousal abuse was an Olympic Sport . . .
love caused chlamydia . . .
racial prejudices were, AWWWW, super cute!
vaginas had code words . . .
virginity was sacred . . .
confidence was a virtue . . .
condoms were an afterthought . . .
Satan wrote, directed, produced, and starred in every porno . . .
Valentines, like most of these cards, are Made in the USA, and have become a glittery, ruffled symbol of love in a consumerist nation. But there’s something about old-timey Valentine’s Day nostalgia that blankets the heart. It’s our need for the good ol days that fuels this modern machine until, eventually, it outpaces us for good. And maybe that’s ok, because, although love is a universal language, there’s something inherently American about blowing your entire affectionate load on one day — it translates as efficiency — with a creamy caramel center. Enjoy!
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!
When I was younger I loved playing detective and was fascinated with the various gizmos my favorite artoon characters used to solve crimes. Inspector Gadget was a brilliant amalgam of both. I wasn’t so much interested in his hat-copter, or even his finger tip skeleton key, but more so with his niece Penny’s computer book and communicator watch. I probably asked Santa for a computer book four Christmases in a row, imagining a geek squad of elves could make it happen. Sadly, it didn’t, and since late 80s, early 90s mechanization wasn’t up to par with the animated world, I improvised . . . with the Bible. I penciled radars and dials throughout Revelations and crayoned multicolored buttons all over Leviticus. Despite my utter devotion to the digital tome and all its features, the communicator watch that Penny used to contact her best pal and humanoid pooch, Brain, remained my personal favorite. Fortunately, I had a great representation in the form of a digital Super Mario Bros. game watch. It beeped, it blinked, it was next to perfect. Every trip to Kmart or Food Lion with my parents became an Inspector Gadget case where Dr. Claw manned all the cameras in the store, and I could be seen (or not) between racks of Jordache acid wash jeans and Lay’s potato chip displays whispering to a cartoon dog through my watch.
Now, twenty years later, THE FUTURE IS HERE, and cartoon fantasy has become reality through the innovations and technological advances of companies like Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Apple. The Apple iPad was the first tablet computer to gain real commercial success upon its release in 2010. That’s when I realized that a tool once powered only by my imagination had come to life. Here was Penny’s computer book — slim, mobile, adept — tangible. As if that wasn’t enough to perk up my inner-child, rumors have been swirling about an iWatch prototype. WHAT?! Uh huh, Penny’s communication device could soon be within my wrist’s grasp, that is, if Apple decides to go forward with development. Reports say the iWatch will be wound with iOS, the same operating system as the iPhone, iPad and iPod. Suffice it to say, if there were a re-boot of Inspector Gadget, Penny could very well chat with Brain via Face Time. My only query is if kids today would even consider utilizing these high tech inventions to expand what only my imagination could conjure once upon a time, or if they would simply be sidetracked by games like Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds Space. Wowsers!
(not my wrists)
After months of success in the box office, and recent wins at the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards (snagging best directer and best cast), I finally decided to see “Argo,” Ben Affleck’s third film as director and second film starring himself and co-starring his rockin’ abs. Unlike their wicked-hot sculpted, sweat glistening debut in, “The Town,” it’s Affleck’s abs’ delightfully hairy performance in “Argo” that rockets the audience into the 70s time period and clearly overshadows countless butterfly collars, chevron mustaches, and that one banana-colored Pontiac Trans Am on the freeway. Although appearing in a mirror for mere seconds, Affleck’s abs are, in totality, a testament to the science fiction aspect of the movie. HUH? you say. What about Iran? The rescue mission? The fake Hollywood script? No. If you saw the movie, you also witnessed the horrible, fatty-fat carb-o-loaded fast food diet Affleck adopted after a split with his old lady — the Chinese take-out boxes lining his hotel bed, that McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese he wolfed down while on the phone with his son — If those hard, but gently rolling fur mounds aren’t proof that aliens were somehow involved in his workout-less lifestyle, I don’t know what else to tell you. What I can confess is that while the film’s core performance didn’t inspire me to go crunch crazy, the wonderfully punny signature line, “Argo fuck yourself,” was a great piece of instructional advice — I have the hairy palms to prove it.