Friday, October 21, 2016

Drunken Octopus, part 2.


"Oh, BOY!"

You'll get hours of ACTION-PACKED ACTION from the mighty mollusks of the DRUNKEN OCTOPUS COMBAT CREW! Each set comes with FOUR PSYCHO CEPHALOPODS ready for a FISHY FIREWATER FRACAS!

These ferocious fighters are a force of DIPSOMANIACAL DESTRUCTION!

"My octopus can beat YOUR octopus!"

"Oh, YEAH?"

Each set of the DRUNKEN OCTOPUS COMBAT CREW comes with this FIGHTING RING so you and your friends can BATTLE IT OUT with your DELIRIOUS DENIZENS OF THE DEEP!

"Sushi Joe's gonna tentacle-ize ya!"

"Four-Eyed Fabio's gonna slap you SILLY!"

Look out, Joe, he's going for the flip!

And Joe is out of the ring!

"Take THAT, Sushi Joe!"

"We'll get you next time, Four-Eyed Fabio!"

The DRUNKEN OCTOPUS COMBAT CREW! By Kenner! Wherever fine toys are sold!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Drunken Octopus, part 1.

We've probably all seen drunken octopus, if not on the inside of our own bathroom doors, then certainly via the Internet meme:

That little x-eyed sucker is itching for a fight, and someone's got to deal with it.

Since that started making the rounds, we'll never look at robe hooks the same way.

I was impressed by something I saw in the Home Depot the other day, while I was actually looking for some octopus hooks:

Yep, up with standard clothing hooks was one designed to actually look like a real octopus. It's interesting to find this kind of thing at Home Depot, which does not expend a lot of rack space on whimsical touches. Barring holiday decor, they tend to leave that kind of thing to Bed, Bath and Beyond and other, more froufrou places, and concentrate on the building stuff. Sturdy hooks, not cute hooks. Simple shower curtain rings, not shower curtain rings shaped like starfish. Plain white switch plates by the gross, not switch plates like this:

Yep, BBB.
But sure enough, you can get the Young House Love branded octo-hook on the Home Depot site, if you're so inclined. (More on Young House Love here.)

Anyway, I kind of admire this kind of lampshade hanging; instead of a hook that just kind of looks like a drunken octopus, they've made something that looks exactly like a drunken octopus. Next step would be to nail an actual octopus to the door, but I think you'd have to have a hell of a taxidermist if you want to hang your robe off it.

All this has given me a brilliant idea for a new product, though, based on my new set of drunken octopi.

Tune in tomorrow for Drunken Octopus, part 2, and get ready to amend your Christmas list!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Pwned, pregnany, and bligged.

The other day (or perhaps the otehr day, as will explained) Merriam-Webster's Web site had a nice piece (or pieve) on the term pwn and its origins. I knew about it, but it bears repeating:
Pwn is a lot like own, then, in the sense of 1b, "to have power or mastery over (someone)." (This is, of course, no coincidence. The word likely has its origin in a mistyping of own, what with the p and o being so close to one another on the QWERTY keyboard and all.)
I kind of like that, as someone who makes a lot of typos myself. Oh, sure, it looks all neat on screen now, but that's because I go back and fix it. But what frustrates me is that there are some words I screw up over and over again. You'd think that I would learn to stop my fingers from snarling the same words, but the muscle memory seems to have recorded the data wrong and is multiplying the error daily. Here are some of my constant screw-ups:

Error  /   Should be
near  /  neat
pieve  /  piece
ot  /  to
whcih  /  which
otehr  /  other
pregnany  /  pregnant
teh  /  the*
anythoing  /  anything
taht  /  that
qyeen  /  queen
chanfge  /  change
juts  /  just
pf  /  of
opf  /  of
tge  /  the
yu  /  you
corrext  /  correct
ekse  /  else
myabe  /  maybe
knoe  /  know
blig  /  blog

One of the things I like about Microsoft Word---yes, really!---is that if you make consistent errors like these you can add them to the AutoCorrect function so they are automatically fixed. Unlike a lot of Word functions, it doesn't make you want to put your fist through the screen. It does have its drawbacks---I can't have it always replace near with neat, obviously. Word sometimes can tell by context that I meant neat instead of near, but not always. And philosophically speaking, you'll never get the motivation to change your poor skills if you have something cleaning up your mess for you. But it is not nearly as annoying as the classic texting autocorrect, which has inspired so much hate.

Now, to show you what my typing is like when I go fast and don't correct my typing, here is the big sensational closing paragraph:

When I was a young men my father told me, "son, always remember that the quick brown fox jumpeed over the lazy dog." I said, "Thanks, Dad, but is sit not true that now is the tuime for all good men to come to the aoid of theiur party?" He said, 'Son, You've been watching too many stupid movies." The end.**


**How did we ever survive typewriters?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Human beans.

I haven't done one of these in a while---a promotional cookbook from the stack I inherited a while ago. Previously we've looked at cookbooks from Swanson chicken, CreametteWaring Blendor, some booze outfits, Coke, a wok maker, and so on. Here, from 1980...

This of course comes from the Goya company, the pride of Jersey City, producer of fine Spanish foods since 1936. They produced this 44 years later, and 36 years after that I looked it over.

I like this book. The recipes are pretty straightforward, lots of bean faves like Hoppin' John, Three-Bean Salad, Pasta e Fagioli, and Refried Beans (or as it's styled here, ¡Refried Beans!). In 1980 Mexican, Cuban, and other Spanish-derived foods (including ¡Spanish!) had become quite popular already, but I think Goya was just starting to make its presence known to the English-speaking shopper. When I was a kid the Goya products were all in their own little ghetto in the supermarket. They still are, in fact, but it's a much bigger ghetto, and I think Goya likes it that way. If the shopper of any ethnicity is looking to make chili or paella or something and wants Spanish canned or jarred things, you go to that aisle and fill the cart, no temptation to try a different brand.

Some of the dishes are a little atypical, like Pigeon Pea Curry Dip and Spiced Meatballs & Maple-y Beans. Here's a recipe with red beans and canned mandarin oranges, which makes it one of the more unusual recipes, but I get a kick out of the name: Red Beans in a Sunset.

This would have been a reference to the song "Red Sails in the Sunset," a classic since 1935 but probably best known from Nat King Cole's 1951 recording. Everyone recorded that song at one time or another, and it would have been familiar to any American who picked up this book in 1980. Now, no one remembers it. Not too many songs are universally known anymore. They might have called a recipe Beanhemian Rhapsody or something now.

I love the look of this book. With yellow, beige, and black on heavy stock they made a fun book for people who haven't used beans a lot. I love all the little bean people that adorn many of the recipes, but they all have the same dialogue:

Because Goya had different size cans, but all their recipes used the 16-ounce can.

The Goya label has hardly changed in 36 years:

Although they do use more prominent Spanish and lowercase letters now. And strangely, the cans have gone down an ounce; the standard size is now 15 ounces.

But seriously, who else has pigeon peas?
Fortunately their English-language slogan is no longer "Goya! Oh boy-a!"

I can certainly vouch for the quality of their beans, so you need never fear buying Goya even if you are as white as an anemic polar bear in a blizzard.

Before we say farewell to Goya Class of 1980, let's pay one last call on the cartoon human beans that some nameless cartoonist inked all those years ago:

Cheerful bunch, aren't they?

Monday, October 17, 2016

NF Hell.

Americans, you are being called on to do your patriotic duty and watch the Jets (1-4) vs. the Cardinals (2-3) on ESPN's Monday Night Football.

America football is an American institution that's all Americany and stuff. But the National Football League's Monday Night Football ratings have been down this year -- way down. No one knows why! It's a mystery! So you have to do your bit to turn this around.

Actually, Thursday night ratings have also been down. And Sunday night. And, uh, all of Sunday too.

Whatever could be the cause? Well, there's a lot of answers. Possibly that people are fleeing regular TV, right? Everyone's streaming, right? Yes, that amazing technology did not exist before September, so you could see how it's suddenly a thing. Which is why in August Major League Baseball had a 5% increase in ratings. Because streaming video and Internet TV didn't exist then.

What's that? You think it has something to do with the NFL players showing anti-patriotic protests during the National Anthem, insulting the flag that so many football fans have gone to war for? Many protests starting right on September 11? To which the NFL did nothing? Even though if YOU tried to make a political protest on company time your ass would be out the door so fast your shoes would have to run to catch up?

Silly American! The NFL sees "no evidence" that concern over player protests has anything to do with this. None! No, the NFL knows what the problem is. Sure they do! In fact there are many reasons the NFL offers:
--Fans think our October pink stuff looks kinda swishy
--Small children are scared of Old Spice commercials; older children throw up
--Antiques Roadshow reruns have been killing it on Mondays
--Fantasy football, like other fantasy commodities, is proving to be much more popular than real football
--People are still upset that Jeromey Clary retired
--The Vikings are 5-0 and the Cubs three wins from the pennant; people think that the apocalypse is coming and are busy praying
--Fans a little miffed about our "Real Estate/Ticket Swap" plan
--St. Louis boycotting us over Rams' move to L.A.; Californians not aware that Rams moved back yet
--Color Rush uniforms too sophisticated
--Johnny Manziel keeps saying mean things about us
--Stupid Trump voters are showing solidarity for his stupid USFL
--Denver is too stoned to realize it is the defending champs
--Our campaign to draft first trans-player ("The Jackie Robinson of the Taffeta Line!") is not as popular as expected
--That darn Minecraft!
--No one is really sure that the Jaguars are an actual NFL team
See? Just because the most patriotic audience for anything in America might be offended by millionaires on the field insulting them and what they believe is no reason to think those morons out there in TV land will stop watching. No way! In fact, the NFL Players Association is already getting ready for the "Christianity Is a Hoax" protest from some of the players, and the NFL is cool with that too.

So let's us morons all get off the stick and onto the couch and watch lots of NFL crap, buy lots of overpriced NFL made-in-China merch, and eat Official Chips and Lite Beers of the NFL. It's our patriotic duty!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A song for the season.

All the talk last week on this dopey site about music from TV shows, like the number (ha!) from Sesame Street called "1-2-3-4-5" or jingles from various perfume ads, somehow got me thinking of the once-fertile genre of game show music.

For example, this ditty might be familiar to some as the theme from Jackpot, a game show produced by Bob Stewart that ran on NBC 1974-1975:

I knew it better as the music from This Week in Baseball. (Fans of the departed Hinderaker-Ward Experience podcast may recall that they used it for their "This Week in Gate Keeping" segment.) The tune was called "Jet Set," and it was written by Mike Vickers, once a member of Manfred Mann, who went on to write tunes for TV shows and films.

But the game show theme I was thinking of was the one used in the late 1960s and early 1970s by the show To Tell the Truth. That Bob Stewart-produced show had been on since 1956, but this wasn't the original theme, as you can tell by its swingin' sixties sound.

And those funky graphics:

The gimmick of the show was that three people would enter the studio, each claiming to be a particular interesting person; one was the person, the others were lying. The celebrity panelists had to use a series of questions to guess who the real person was; winnings were based on the liars' ability to fool the panelists. ABC did a brief revival not long ago, but the closest show on the air now to that is probably Food Network's Cooks vs. Cons. People too young to have seen the show in its original run, which ended in 1978 (and then 1981, 1991, and 2001), may have seen a clip from the show in the film Catch Me if You Can, since the real-life Frank Abagnale actually did appear on the program in 1977. (He didn't look like Leonardo DiCaprio.) I believe many of the old episodes have also aired on the Game Show Network.

In this political season, though, I thought the cheerful ditty used as the theme was appropriate for our national anthem.
It's a lie, lie. You're telling a lie.
I never know why you don't know how
To Tell the Truth, truth, truth, truth
You don't know how To Tell the Truth.
The rest can be seen here.

Catchy, huh?

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Tralfaz the hero.

My older dog, Tralfaz, is a hero.

I had to take the boys out to make some more brown patches on the lawn, because the lawn isn't bad enough as it is, and hey, they gotta go. The big fella decided he didn't have to, though, just wanted to enjoy some fresh air and chillax on the porch, so I let him. Figured it wouldn't be long.

Well, I started around the back with the little guy, Nipper. Nipper apparently had to do more than just pee, judging by the fussiness level, but he seemed to be having a bit of trouble getting the engines going. So in the back I let him off his leash to play a little fetch; a little exercise usually does the trick.

Big mistake.

See, it was a blustery day, and the kid is not yet five months old. He's never seen autumn before. He's never seen leaves blowing around in the yard before. What I saw as a typical fall afternoon became a magical wonderland of flying toys to the little guy.

Gotta get 'em all!

So he goes charging after a leaf, then another, then another, never put off by the disappointment of any of them turning out to be just a leaf. A leaf! Bah! On to the next! Hey! There's PLENTY more up there!

In the street!

Nipper goes streaking alongside the house. Two months ago I could have caught him; not anymore. He's gotten much, much faster since the last time he ran amok. Also now he can maintain a single direction instead of toddling hither and yon.

Also the last time did not occur in the middle of the day when there was traffic.

The trajectory was undeniable, and I could not catch him. And there was a car coming.

Then, flying off the porch...

Tralfaz shot passed me, barking; he swung right around Nipper and distracted the little dude from his prey (leaves in the street). Nipper, alarmed, ran, and Tralfaz drove him in an arc back toward the house, back toward the porch.

By nature and by breed, Tralfaz is built for hauling, not for herding; built for muscle, not for speed. And, I ought to mention, Tralfaz himself was reprimanded severely for crossing the street on his own a few months ago when one of his pup pals was being walked over there. But this time he seemed to know what the right thing to do was, and he executed it in nothing less than heroic fashion. He may have saved the little squirt's life.

Well, you never heard so much praise since the national political conventions, except I meant it. Milk-Bone's largest treat was dispatched to much rejoicing. Tralfaz got so much love, so well-earned. His stature went up quite a bit in my eyes, and it was already up there.

Good dog.

I, of course, got a well-earned lecture on letting puppies off the leash before they were ready for it.

Bad daddy.

As for Nipper, he did drop his load soon after. He had to by then. Tralfaz had scared it out of him.