Friday Fives – if it weren’t for those kids!

Greatest American Hero Embroidered arm patch 3.75" tall" | eBay

What is the single worst movie you sat through hoping it would get better, but didn’t?

Gangster Squad.   I see, with that title, I should not have been expecting Academy award performances… but its’ terrible-ness still sends me into fits whenever I think about it.  It is a movie about gangsters, but that isn’t important.  I watched it, and stuck with it… because of the cast.  This may be the greatest cast ever assembled.  No, really.  Look!

  • Ryan Gosling
  • Josh Brolin
  • Nick Nolte
  • Sean Penn
  • Michael Pena
  • Emma Stone
  • Giovanni Ribisi

That is what breaks my heart.  I don’t care that it’s a shitty movie, there are millions of those.  I care that you wasted that cast on such dreck.  Look below.  On the left is what we expected just looking at the IMDB write up on the movie.  the LEFT.

Ruined Spanish Fresco Monkey Jesus' costume makes rounds on Internet

Now, look on the right.  That is how the movie turned out.  Same painting.  This is the story of ‘monkey Jesus’, and the cleaning lady who went to restore it.  True story.  I am thinking the Monkey Jesus cleaning ladymay have punched up that script for them.

Only the Departed had a cast like that, and that movie was terrible, too.  Gangster Squad was just so bad.  It killed me to think of this talent pool suffering through this.  Let me see if I can find a mean review to articulate what I seemingly cannot. Let’s ask this gent, clearly a movie snob (who nails it)

gangster

What hit American tv show do you just not get the appeal of at all?

 Mama’s Family.  It was a wildly wildly successful show starring Vicki Lawrence as a cranky grandmother.  There it is, everything you need to know about that one trick pony (the show, not Vicky Lawrence).  It wasn’t just not funny, it seemed actively hacky and bad.  That then right there is when I came up with an explanation of how terrible shows survive…  This is good, I don’t think I have ever shared this silliness.

Vicki Lawrence Show Tickets - Branson, MO | Tripster

she is watching you masturbate, and is not impressed

 

Tv ratings used to be determined by Nielson boxes, and Nielson families.  This was a box they hooked up to your tv and recorded everything you watched.  I never knew a Nielson family, probably because they signed a big ass NDA.  Each member of the household would get a personal code to punch in when they watched something.  That way, they knew if a show was big with housewives, or early teen males… etc etc.  It’s clunky and basic, (like your sister***)  but we are talking pre-computer age.  I believe to get the data they initially had to come pick the thing up and get info… but then they got fancy and were able to send the data over telephone line.

Back then, the way they pushed a new show out was by putting it on directly after an established and successful show.  See NBC in the 90’s, and ‘must see tv’.  They were brilliant.   Well, my theory is people put on the show before Mama’s Family, because it was good.  Then, when the offending show in question came on… the watcher was paralyzed with apathy and sleep.  So, the numbers kept coming up peachy.  I feel this is how Hee Haw survived as well.  They put it on right after ‘Greatest American Hero’ in the 80,

What was your favorite television show as a kid? Why?  

Greatest American Hero, and the A Team.  I can tell you that these shows don’t hold up terribly well, but Greatest American Hero is still watchable.  The special effects are just terrible.  Well, special effects didn’t much exist for TV back then, so it was really more of trick photography.  I loved that show so much I took a bus across town to buy the record single.  ‘Believe it or not’, by Joey Scarbury.   Yeah, I even remember the dude’s name who sang the theme song.  Keep your undies on, ladies.

As a kid, you get obsessed each fall over the Saturday morning network cartoon line up?

I don’t recall almost any of the cartoons I watched as a kid.  I can tell you the ones I didn’t watch (that were all the rage), GI Joe, Transformers, Strawberry Shortcake.

My life was governed by one, and only one, show.  It wasn’t Saturday morning, either.  It was every day after school at… 2 pm?   3 pm?  Something like that.   Scooby Doo!  I loved that show, and never missed it.  It’s funny, as we now know that they pretty much shared the exact same plot every episode.  It goes thusly

The gang gets wind of a haunted facility.  Early on in the episode, we meet a fairly benign… but always a bit standoffish… elderly white male.  The gang would spend the next 20 minutes dealing with super scary stuff.  At the end of each episode, we found there was never any supernatural goings on.  It was the elderly care taker just trying to scare off people… so that he could have the ____ all to himself.  It was always a mask, too.  A mask that was terrifyingly real for the first 25 minutes of the show, and then revealed to be a crappy plastic mask with those rubber bands stapled in the back.  Like… here is how the bad guy appeared through the show –

Immortal Masks.com - Silicone Masks, Halloween Masks, Realistic ...

Anyhow, he would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for those meddling kids and that dog!

You Know You Grew up In the 90s When You Or Your Friends Wore ...

and you can’t help but think ‘I was scared of that this whole episode?’

Add “and Hitler” to the end of the title of a book, movie, or TV show. What is it about now?

Hitler in Wonderland.  A young Adolf discovers a whimsical and nearly perilous world that brings delight and silly new friends at every turn.  Though, our young protagonist has not the coping skills of Alice.  In frustration, he hangs the white rabbit from the Jub Jub tree.  Then, blames the Jews for it.  The Cheshire cat’s smile quickly fades.

The kooky thing is the book predates Hitler and WW2 by almost 100 years.  We think of Alice in Wonderland being written in the 60s, with all it’s trippy and druggy passages.  It was.  1860s!

ed note:  YIKES.  This is a thing.   Really.  Look.

*** Look at me growing. Sister jokes!  I used to make jokes about your mother. It’s silly and fun.  I am moving past that, America.  I am taking my petty snarky mean and unnecessary comments to your sister.  Your mother is a saint!

Friday Fives – please meet Pritchard

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Where is the most beautiful nature in your area?

Tough to say, this is Colorado after all.  I guess I’d say Rocky Mountain National Park.  I was just there a couple weeks ago for the first time in at least 20 years.  Holy shit, I was blown away.  Truly, if you just dropped me there out of context, I would swear we were in Switzerland.  It was 14ers as far as the eye could see.

Perhaps I should note I have never been to Switzerland… yet.  So what do I know?

 Does your household grow some of its own food?

Kinda.  I bought a basil plant at the store last week.  But, it was single use.  Poor little fella.  He doesn’t look good. Still a plant, and still in a pot… but just stalks.   Every leave cut off and sacrificed for a dope ass caprese.

I like the idea, but it hardly feels worth the effort.  Our growing season in Colorado is very short.  Just a few months, which means any food plants have to be started months ahead inside.  Also, our soil is mostly clay.  We did have a problem with our dogs and other animals getting in and ruining the garden, but I since ran the electric horse fencing over to the garden.  Anyone who crosses that threshold gets enough electricity to stun and scare a 1500 pound horse.   Ask Rufus.  He got shocked once, years ago, and doesn’t go anywhere near it now.  Mission accomplished.

sidebar – my whole inside backyard for the dogs is electrified this way.  it is a 4 foot fence, which is nothing for a full size hunting dog to jump.  People may say that is cruel.  Out where I live, the other option is they get out of the yard and get run over in the street, which happened to Buddy.  He was the greatest dog I never had.  A title now held by Chumly.  So… the dog gets a mild shock once (trust me, it only takes once) or he gets run over.  In fact, I was so impressed with Rufus’ ability to clear the fence that I filmed it.  Gave it sound effects, and put it in slow mo.

We have had semi successful gardens before, though.  Last year, we had spaghetti squash MURDER our pepper plants.  Yeah, they put a hit out.  We had the squash in the garden, and they take a LOT of room (because they breed like rabbits)… so we put the peppers in big pots just outside of the garden.   Well, what a squash does is send out a little vine thing.  Sends out a TON, to find a place to grab hold.  We gave the plants stakes and cages and all kinds of things to grab on to.  Towards Fall, though, the plant ran out of willing takers (think closing time at a bar in college.  You are no longer looking for miss right, but miss right now.)

Tendrils - The Daily Garden

now imagine this metal stake was the stalk of my glorious and tragic jalapeno plant.

So, one of these tendrils reached OUT of the garden and past the fence into the yard.  It found the stock of a beautiful and once healthy jalapeno plant.  Once the little tendrils find purchase, they wrap around the thing for stability.  In time (over maybe a week-ish) that squash tendril starting growing its own squash… which to be fair is its job.   That strangled off the pepper plant and pulled it over.

It wouldn’t be a big deal if I didn’t already have about 12 big ass squash and zero harvested jalapenos!  Squash (pumpkins, zucchini) are mad prolific.  They self replicate and self seed.  What that means is if you plant two squash plants, by fall you will have about 10 different stand alone squash plants.  Like zucchini?  You better!  By fall you will have about 40.  And another thing about zucchini, it is almost never ‘done’.  You have to cut and remove them when they are a reasonable size… no bigger than a tube of cookie dough.  If you leave them alone, or more realistically don’t notice them growing under all the foliage the plant produced, they continue to grow.  They will be as long and thick as your bicep.  And yes, I just used cookie dough as a measurement reference.  Obviously I am a guy who eats a lot more cookie dough than zucchini.

Do you recycle or repurpose a lot, a little, or somewhere in between?

Yes, we absolutely recycle.  Sadly, out where I live, no one recycles.  I am surrounded by Republicans, so of course they think that the environment is a scam we made up to be dicks.  Note, they also believe that about pollution, and the Corona virus.  Go ahead, ask any Republican and they will tell you all those things are bullshit.

They really think us Dems are so super organized that we have put together end times just to impose upon them.  Note… all the things they are against require some level of effort, inconvenience, or sacrifice.   At heart, they are just being selfish and lazy.  Prove me wrong!

as for repurposing,*** we are not good at that.  That is by FAR the best way to do it.  To me, true recycling means nothing leaves your house.  Got a ton of aluminum cans?  Um… make a… um… make this!

soda can sculpture - Google Search | Tin can art, Aluminum can ...

**** udpate – apparently Microsoft hates the world and ecology.  Spell check just told me that repurposing is not a word.  Well, not with that attitude it isn’t!

My wonderful friend and neighbor Linda said it best.  She said recycling starts at the store with what you buy.  And to be mindful that you are also buying the packaging.

Sadly, the reality of this quickly turns into hoarding for most of us.  We have to be especially careful of that as we have 5 acres.  So, it is really easy to accidentally start hoarding.  Just look at my neighbors?  Pritchard, you are really going to restore that RV?  Really?  The one that is currently upside down.  Fuck you, Pritchard.  Get rid of that shit, bro.

 What do you think the most endangered part of the Earth is?

us

What is the single best way for an individual to help the environment?

Die.  Next to that.  Recycle.  VOTE.  Breed liberals, or even libertarians.  Just breed and raise nice people who believe in science.  Also, going to reference Alton Brown here (apparently I have some licensing deal where I have to mention him weekly).  He said more important than eating organic, is to eat local.  And seasonal.

People in the rest of the world have tiny refrigerators (if they have any at all).  They marvel at why ours are so big.  So, the rest of the world just buys enough groceries for the week.  Fresh meat and produce that will be used quickly.  They don’t buy shit to store it for 5 years, Pritchard!

I must come clean I do not practice what I preach.  My fridge is stupid huge.  Bigger than yours, anyway, Pritchard!  And what kind of asshole name is Pritchard, anyway?  It is the kind of name you give someone with 4 boats in their front yard.

 

Friday Fives – under the table and dreaming

24x24 ORIGINAL My Under The Table And image 0

When was the last time you went to a state or county fair?

Ah, the county fair.  What a perfect bastion of Americana.  My association is different than most.  You probably expect me to wax poetically about can’t win games, the fatty food, the fatty people… etc.  No sir.  I am not your Normal Rockwell.  *** ooh, good song title!!!

For me, the fair was about concerts.  For me, especially when I was younger… everything was about concerts.  The state fair for Arizona was held at and around Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum.  This where the Suns (our NBA team) played.  More interesting is notice how it isn’t name after a corporation.  Ooh.. I just googled it and it is still around.  Kinda scary, as it was 30 years old when I went there in the 80s.  AND… it is apparently still where they hold the state fair.  Just about every night during the fair, they would have a national band playing the arena.  The fair cost (this is in the 80’s) $5 to get in.  With that admission, you got free admission to whatever concert was that night.  Seating was open, and simply first come first served.  I wasn’t much into the carnival thing… because it’s a one hundred and twenty fucking degrees all day.  So, hanging out on tarmac/asphalt under the sun was not my jam.

I got to see CSN there, the Fixx, Allman Brother’s… and likely a ton more that I just don’t remember.  Did some more googling, and they have a terrific site!  Look at this, they have all the concerts listed there.  My whole childhood laid out.  $5 to see a national act, it was amazing!  I would often go alone.   $5 was even then an insanely good value to see a national headlining act.  The last concert I went to (right at the verge of Corona Virus lockdown) was Dwight Yoakum.  After fees, tickets were about $80 after fees. This was actually one of the cheaper national shows I have been do.  I did a cool google search to see $5 then (mid 80s) equals now.  The answer is $12.20 today.

Did you try your hand at the midway games?

Of course I did.  And I sucked at them, just like everyone does.  Steve Martin explained the whole racket in ‘the Jerk’.  Well… had it explained to him.  Sames!  I know at one time I did win a 6 foot inflatable Gumby doll.  What I did with that gumby tall was put him in the shotgun seat (belted in, of course) with a baseball cap over his pointy head.  Then, use him to drive in the carpool lane.  My windows were tinted, so all I needed was a silhouette.  It totally worked!

Giant 6 foot Inflatable Gumby by imperial toys. Late 80's | #522996980

So, I googled this to make sure I was remembering correctly.  Sure enough, I DID have a 6 foot tall inflatable Gumby.  Even weirder is that you can have one, too!


Which of the rides were your favorite, either now or as a kid?

I can tell you which ones weren’t – roller coasters.  Not sure if I have told this story before, but maybe should be saved my therapist.  I didn’t like or use roller coasters.  Not because I was scared, it would get sick.  It was because I was a physically tiny specimen.  When I was… oh… 10 or 12 or whatever… I was pretty short.  I wasn’t just short, I was skinny.  I had very little body mass of any kind.  Even if I was tall enough to ride the roller coaster, the safety bar was useless.  See, that safety bar was designed to fit every size adult.  You know, it swings down and works as a lap belt, of sorts.   Well, it only swings down so far.  Mind you, this certainly wasn’t a full shoulder harness that they use now… just a lap bar.  Back then, however, seat belts were only lap belts, as well.

People on roller coaster Scary Roller Coasters, Scared Face, Coaster Art, Photo Action, Summer Playlist, The Third Person, Perfectly Timed Photos, Carnival Rides, Love People

Once the ‘safety’ bar was dropped over my lap, there was still a good 4 to 6 inches of play.  Meaning, there was no physical contact between my body and that bar.  Not even close.  I suppose the roller coasters were designed to hold you in place by centrifugal force, anyway.  Perhaps the bar is just a formality.  I didn’t know that.  I got into one of those things and realized if I didn’t hold onto that bar, I would be ejected.   Since those things went upside down, I avoided that shit altogether.  Now, being American and middle aged… I am overweight.  This means I nestle nicely in these coasters.

A picture is worth a thousand words.  See the kids in the middle?  Do you see their terror?  It’s isn’t thrill, it is simply waiting for death.  Look at the safety lap bar they are holding on to for dear life.  See how it is wedged safely in their torso to hold them in place?  EXACTLY my point.  That bar is cranked all the way down.  If this thing like stalls while upside down?  Those kids are toast.  This is how I remember them.  Perhaps you think ‘well, they had redundant safety measure in place, and they are all designed to hold you in place my gravity or centrifugal force’.

 

That is what 48 year old me would say to a 10 year old me.  But then, here is what 10 year old me would have said – “Fuck you!  This ride fits on the back of a semi trailer, and was assembled in the dark by a 6th grade drop out.  It is designed to be set up/taken down in under 15 minutes on the back of a truck.  I don’t think this was designed by rocket scientists.  Now get me the out of here!”

Do you see that sign?  Ok, the guy who couldn’t spell ‘exit’ is the guy in charge of this ride.  If his knowledge of physics and mechanics is nearly half his understanding of the English language… I ain’t getting on that ride.  Note, I didn’t google search to find a stock picture that would make carnies look dumb.  This was a very real sign at the Arapahoe county fair.  I took that photo myself.  Yeah… the who put this sign together is the one in charge of building the roller coaster.  Doesn’t strike me a ‘reads the directions’ type of guy.

Yes, 10 year olds do talk like South Park characters.  At least, I did.

Did you ever enter anything into the exhibits? How did you do?

Wait.  Back up for a second.  I should apologize, I never answered the first question.  When was the last time I went to a County Fair?  It was a couple years ago, the Arapahoe County Fair.  I should note that Colorado does have a state fair, but no one has ever been.  Why”  Because it is in Pueblo, CO.  It is almost 3 hours away.  PLUS… it’s a miserable shithole of a city.  What Arizona did made sense.  The state fair was in Phoenix.  Not just because it’s the capital, but because it is the population center of the state.  Anyhow, the Arapahoe County Fair is dope.  It is just like any other county fair, except for one thing – demolition derby!!!!!   

Actually, maybe demolition derby’s are common to fair’s,  but I only saw one once ever.  There is nothing better > not sex > not jamming with Jerry Garcia > not even tripping balls peaking on LSD at Magic Mountain in Disneyland**** is better than a demolition derby.  The best was a van in the competition.  A van!  Van’s don’t crash or skid… the roll!  And roll and roll this van did.   Then… it caught fire.   FUCK YEAH!

*** I have done two of these three things.

What is your best memory that you take from a fair?

Um… see above.  That is all we have been covering.  Did you even pay attention?  You want a single best memory?  Hmmm… besides watching a van roll over and catch on fire.. it may be CSN.  I have seen Crosby, Still, and Nash a number of times.  Maybe… 6?  Odds are, this was my first time.  To see ‘Suite” Judy Blue Eyes’ performed in person is a pretty perfect moment.  I can’t think of a better song.  That song is up there with ‘Born to Run’, ‘the Weight’… etc

Actually, I can think of a best moment.  At the demolition derby, we were with a buddy and his family.  A lot of the day was me hanging out with Alyssa.  She is his daughter, and a super cool kid.  We had the same taste in rides, so we hung out a lot that day.  Best memory just may be sitting with Alyssa in the stands sharing a funnel cake and watching the demolition derby together and just losing our minds that this was a real thing we could do.  I had never seen one in person.  It is spectacular!

It still makes no sense.   So… people crash cars?  On purpose?  Into each other?  Over and over again?  As hard as they can?  Until something catches fire?  They are allowed to do this?  No one stops them?  And we can just watch this for fun?  God bless America!

Again… let’s take a look at that ‘exit’ picture.  Note that it was put up quite well.  Aside from the spelling… look how perfectly level it is.  Note how perfectly equidistant each letter is.  This sign was not just thrown up in haste.  I think that is what scares me the most.