Sunday, July 31, 2005

August Quotes, Police Calls & Pictures of the Week

Quotes of the Week
"Check out this Teamsters pen. It was made in China. I don't think there's no Local 120 in Tokyo." -- Rocky's geographically challenged co-worker.

"These taste different. Are they saltwater or freshwater?" -- Rocky's sister questioning the featured food at the Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry in Bismarck, ND.

Police Calls of the Week
Oct. 13: 1:03pm - A skunk had his head stuck in a mayonnaise jar in Trimont.

Apr. 2: Animal complaint. A 60-year-old Franksville man was ticketed April 2 for animal at large after a witness reported a chicken wandering in the 3900 block of N. Raynor Lane. The man admitted the chicken was his and took it home.

Pictures of the Week

When someone tells you to grab the bull by the horns, you should never try to do it with your ass cheeks.

Instead of worrying about North Korea and its potential nuclear weapons programs, we should actually worry about South Korea. They taught this orangutan how to water ski!

Behind The Cereal Box, Part One

Ever wonder what happened to so many of the breakfast cereal mascots we saw growing up as kids? Some still appear on boxes of their signature brand of cold cereal, but many have completely vanished. Only a select few still appear on TV commercials, confirming their existence.

What happened to all of them? Where are they now? Are the rumors true, or just part of breakfast Urban Legend? We need to go Behind The Cereal Box to get some answers...

Cap'N Crunch
The Cap'N has been on shore leave ever since that fateful night at the helm of the Quaker Valdeez when it ran aground in Alaska's Prince William Sound. Some say the Cap'N fell asleep at the wheel or had been drinking, others contend he was trying to break up a fight between the Crunchberry Beast and the Peanut Butter Elephant over who was his first mate.

We may never know what really led to the shipwreck, which ruptured the cargo hold and spilled 600 tons of Cap'N Crunch and Crunch Berries into the Bay of Alaksa. Miraculously, the cereal stayed crispy, making cleanup much easier than say, an oil spill. However, environmental groups were upset that local marine life - including seals, killer whales and sea otters - consumed too much of the spilled cereal, making the roofs of their mouths sore.

The Cap'N's heavy use of profanity when answering reporters' questions at the news conference further tarnished his image and overshadowed his apology.

"I don't get it," The Cap'N said. "I'm a sailor. We're supposed to swear!"

Since then, the Cap'N thwarted an attempted identity theft (remember the who's the real Cap'N campaign?), and recruitment by the Village People to replace one of the group's members.

"At first, I naturally assumed I'd be the sailor, the 'In the Navy' guy," Cap'N said. "But they wanted me to be the cowboy. They said they were on a time crunch and my hat was close enough. I told them to shove off!"

The Trix Rabbit
The Trix Rabbit bowed out of the public eye following the big Trix election scandal of 2000. It all started in 1976, as part of a promotional campaign coinciding with the presidential election of the same year. Trix encouraged breakfast eaters to vote if the Trix Rabbit should be allowed to eat a bowl of the cereal, or if it should remain exclusively for kids. The Rabbit nabbed 99 percent of the vote and was given a bowl of Trix. He asked for seconds, but was told by bitter bully kids to wait four years for the next election.

Then the losses piled up. All the campaigning in the world could not score the rabbit another bowl of Trix. The Rabbit's opposition slogan "Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!" just carried too much influence with voters.

With help of celebrity endorsements from Bugs Bunny and Roger Rabbit during the 2000 campaign, The Trix Rabbit received 51 percent of the popular vote. However, in the 1990s, a cereal electoral college was set up, and the Trix Rabbit had not carried enough states to win another bowl of his favorite breakfast.

Controversy erupted and many claimed the vote was rigged, possibly by Elmer Fudd, a known rabbit-hater. The ballots, found on the back of Trix cereal boxes, were supposed to be simple "Yay!" or "Nay!" checkboxes with dashed lines around them. This way they could be cut out and mailed into the General Mills offices in Minneapolis for easy counting.

However, the Trix cereal box ballots in Florida were apparently more complicated with a little more design flair and "punch card" balloting, potentially misleading kiddie voters into saying "Yay!" for the Rabbit when they actually wanted him to end his obsession with the cereal.

"Why does that Rabbit want Trix so bad?" one opposition mother asked. "I thought rabbits were only obsessed with sex and carrots!"

It took months for auditors to examine the Florida Trix ballots and inspect all the hanging chads. The resulting investigation and tax dollars spent on recounts didn't conclusively prove the Rabbit carried the state. However, his public image was forever tied to the scandalous election and a vote was not allowed again, resulting in continual denial by kids to share their Trix.

"With four rabbit's feet, you'd figure I'd have better luck," moped the Trix Rabbit, his ears hanging floppily alongside his head. "I'm through with those kids. Too many mindgames. I saw them feeding Trix to a goat once, and was like, hey you little pricks, what gives? If the goat gets some, I want some, too. Then they started giggling and said 'Silly Rabbit, Trix are for kidds.' Bastards!"

Although the Trix Rabbit still appears on the cereal box, he has given up his political pursuits for a budding career in magic. He hopes one day to be pulled out of a hat by David Copperfield.

Mr. Mini Wheat
Initially thought to only have a split personality - one side wheat and the other side sweet - Mr. Mini Wheat was diagnosed to have multiple personality disorder. He backs the finding by claiming to have a chocolate side that can turn the whitest milk brown, and even has a fruit-flavored side.

He posed for a recent box cover holding a Star Wars light sabre, demanding to be called Darth Frost. Thankfully, that personality didn't stick around as long as the movie.

"I've changed my name to Sybil, but the cereal company won't acknowledge it," he complained. "The name Mr. Mini Wheat no longer has any meaning to me."

Count Chocula
Count Chocula was one of two victims (the other - The Count of Sesame Street fame) at a charity event when Wesley Snipes accidentally murdered the lovable vampires as a publicity stunt for his upcoming Blade movie.

"I had no idea what the little brown and purple dudes were there for," Snipes testified at the trial in which he was acquitted of double homicide. "One just kept babbling about cereal and the other kept counting the cereal's marshmallows. I saw a wooden stake lying nearby and it just sort of happened."

Around the same time, other Monster Cereals met similar fates by cereal killers. A mob carrying pitchforks and torches chased poor Frankenberry to his doom; BooBerry was shown the light by a psychic and crossed over to the other side; and Yummy Mummy was put in a glass case and paraded around the country as a sideshow to the King Tut exhibit.

This little guy is currently rumored to be at Area 51 north of Las Vegas in a tank of formaldehyde. Some conspiracy groups claim the government kidnapped Quisp so scientists could ascertain whether the propellor on his head is a part of a hat, or an actual alien appendage. Apparently, the project ran out of funding, so he's still sitting in his tank getting soggy.

Toucan Sam
This lovable bird has endured many false rumors over the years, including one that he was a cocaine addict due to his "follow your nose" slogan used in commercials.

The most recent birdshot has come from Jerry Falwell's group of religious censors, who have outed him along with Teletubby Tinky Winky and other muppets and mascots as being "gay." The Falwell group points to the rainbow color of Sam's bill and the fact that his cereal has the word "Froot" in it as the smoking guns to hidden homosexuality.

"Of course I have a rainbow bill, I'm a fucking Toucan!" Sam said. "Any basic birding book will tell them my bill's color isn't 'Nature's Gaydar.' I don't even want to hear what filth this cult is spreading about the innocent titmouse, blue-footed booby or pileated woodpecker.

"But most of all, I hope parents don't think eating Froot Loops will 'turn' their kids gay."

Sugar Bear
Many rumors had been circulating about the Sugar Bear, including one that he was dead and currently being used as a rug in the Honeycomb Hideout.

Well, the bear is not there. He resurfaced on the entertainment scene when he was spotted at BALCO labs with Barry Bonds, then outed as a steroid user in former Major League Baseball player Jose Canseco's hit book Juiced.

"Sugar Bear did kind of puff up in his later years, really filling out that sweater," Canseco said. "At the beginning, he was just eating a lot of Super Sugar Crisp and doing a lot of weight training. But then he started to worry he was losing a step to the other big animal cereal mascots like Tony the Tiger."

Sugar Bear started asking around the gym if there were alternative methods to staying strong besides sugar-coated puffed wheat cereal. That's when Canseco told him he needed to get on "the juice."

"At first he thought I meant he should be drinking orange juice with his cereal," Canseco laughed. "But then Mark McGwire, Sugar Bear and I all shot each other up in the Post locker room before a charity softball game against Kellogg's. We kicked their asses 17-2. Sugar Bear went 5 for 5 with 3 home runs."

Cookie Crisp Thief
At first, the Cookie Crisp Thief's attempts to steal Cookie Crisp cereal were viewed as silly, sometimes even adorable. This led him down a dark road of crime that has landed him in jail for a 17th time.

His latest stint in prison is a result of trying to shake down someone for, you guessed it, some Cookie Crisp cereal. But he also was convicted of making terroristic threats, telling one terrified family if they didn't pony up the cereal, he "would make the Cookie Crisp Wizard disappear."

He has been seen on the TV show COPS three times, each time busted prowling in an unsuspecting family's kitchen, ransacking their cereal cabinet. Despite his attempts to escape, he is always tackled by authorities and hauled away drunk and shirtless with cookie cereal crumbs stuck to his chest hair.

Despite his "bad boy" image that tends to sell, Nestle decided to drop the Cookie Crisp Thief from the cereal's box cover.

Cornelius, the Corn Flakes rooster
This barnyard bird was probably more known for his commercial voice crowing than his image. Still, he has graced the Corn Flakes cereal box for decades. But the banty rooster has lost much of his cockiness and refuses to pose for an updated cover shot.

"Cornelius was pecked beyond recognition in a cockfight last year," his promoter Colonel Sanders said. "I've raised and trained a lot of chickens, and despite this setback, he's still worthy to be sprinkled in all eleven of my herbs and spices, then broasted. I didn't have the heart to do that when we can cash in on a rematch. But if he loses again, he'll be washed up, then plucked and will be moving from the cover of that cereal box to the inside of a KFC bucket to go."

The Apple Jacks Kids
This pair of youngsters were missing for years despite being on the front of Apple Jacks cereal boxes.

The cruel irony is that while the nation focused on the sides of milk cartons to try and find missing children, the Apple Jacks kids were always overlooked on the front of the cereal box sitting right next to the friggin' milk jug.

"All me and Jill did was go up the hill for a bucket of water," Jack said. "The next thing you know, we're forced into slave modeling labor for cereal box covers. It could have been worse, though. At least we didn't have to work in the Kathie Lee Giffordesque sweatshop to make cereal box prizes. I heard that really sucks."

To be continued - Stay tuned for Behind The Cereal Box, Part Two coming soon to a blog near you!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

You'll Only Get Sugar High From Pot Suckers

P.T. Barnum once said a sucker is born every minute. I wish he were still alive to get a load out of Pot Suckers, an idea that sounds half-baked.

Pot Suckers are lollipops flavored with hemp essential oil, but they do not contain the hallucinogenic compound found in real reefer. Still, the candy features advertising slogans such as "Every lick is like taking a hit." Due to such bold statements, many stores pulled the pot product from candy shelves across the country amid accusations Pot Suckers glorify drug use to children. Six states threatened to ban Pot Suckers.

Since they are just regular candy, I assume the dope lollipops will probably have the same effect regular sugar-heavy suckers have on kids - make them overly giggly, sometimes hallucinagenic (Example: imaginary friends), and work up a killer appetite (usually making them hungry only for more candy).

ICUP, the Jersey-based "dealer," suspended distribution of the Pot Suckers and has held up plans to release a hemp-flavored chocolate Buzz candy bar. The company president said the novelty candies were not meant to target kids, but the adults who make up 70 percent of candy consumers in the U.S.

Lawmakers should just chill, dude. Let parents do the parenting. JUST SAY NO if you don't want your kid to lick a pot sucker. Maybe they need to run those Just Say No drug commercials again with the eggs. The guy holds up an egg and says "This is your brain", then cracks the egg and fries it and says "This is your brain on drugs." All they would have to do is add a side of bacon and say "And this is your tongue if you lick a Pot Sucker!"

I also don't understand why these people are focusing on just Pot Suckers when Big League Chew, a shredded bubble gum kept in a zip-lock bag like it's Redman, glorifies chewing tobacco. Go to any little league baseball game, and I guarantee you'll see some 7-year-old stuff a wad of Big League Chew the size of a baseball in his mouth and proceed to suck on it and spit it out over the next 6 innings (when he isn't scratching his nuts raw to try and imitate his favorite Major League ball player).

Candy and its resulting sugar highs can be just as dangerous as drugs. Some people claim to be choc-o-holics. I believe it. Somewhere right now, there is a meeting at a community center and someone is saying "Hello, my name is Linda, and I'm a choc-o-holic. I'm here because I made out with a bushel bag of Hershey Kisses in the back seat of my car last night. My husband made me come in here as soon as he rubbed off the brown ring around my mouth with a washcloth."

Believe me, overcoming chocolate addiction is a life-long battle (that I still haven't won). Anyone who thinks quitting chocolate cold turkey is a cakewalk is lying (and anyone who hates cakewalks because they combine your addictions to cheesy music, gambling and eating cake, I am starting a support group called Cakewalkers Anonymous).

Take it from me, I am a recovering candy-used-to-promote-adult-activities addict. I chain smoked candy cigarettes for 7 years until I was 12. I had to quit cold turkey because I couldn't find them at stores anymore. I wish they would have had some sort of patch available to lessen the blow. Maybe if I taped a pack of Sweet & Lo to my arm, it would have done the trick. Instead, I turned to Fruit Stripe as my candy cigarette nicotine gum alternative.
But then I discovered bubble gum cigarettes, and I was hooked again. These were rolled in paper and had powder inside so when you blew inside of them, bubble gum "smoke" would come out. Unlike regular cigarette smokers, bubble gum cigarette smokers' lungs get pinker, misleading doctors on how unhealthy their habit has become. And don't even get me started on the dangers of second-hand bubble gum smoke, which my sister inhaled for at least 2-3 years (especially on one car trip when she bitched to our parents that I wasn't on "my side" of the back seat, so I'd blow "smoke" in her face from behind the line the whole 10-hour drive from Bismarck, N.D., to Iowa).

We're probably lucky Pot Suckers were weeded out from candy shelves. It would only lead to some kid being disappointed when he buys Blow Pops. There's no cocaine inside the suckers, only bubble gum, but the name implies a helluva lot more street value than a quarter.

What about Tootsie Pops? Apparently no drugs are encased in those suckers, either, just a tootsie (not quite enough in there for a roll). But it does make you wonder if it's really just Tootsie in there. In the old advertisements for this sucker, a kid goes into the woods and asks different critters how many licks it will take him to get to the center. This insinuates the kid is on something before even taking a lick of the Tootsie Pop.

The first critter, Mr. Turtle, speaking like a true snapper, admits he can "never make it without biting." He advises the little sucker junkie to talk to Mr. Owl. But instead of just answering the kid's question, Mr. Owl snatches the sucker away and says "Let's find out. Ah-one, ah-two, ah-three" before deep-beaking the whole thing. Then he hands the poor little bastard his sucker stick back with no candy on it and no concrete answer to his question. How many licks does it take? The world may never know. But one thing the world does know is that hooty fuck can never make it past three licks, so there must be some really good shit under that hard sucker candy.

If Pot Suckers weather the storm and return to the market, think of the floodgates this could open for products with drug-themed names and marketing campaigns. It's downright scary to think your snack aisle might be filled with the following...

GUMMI SHROOMS - It started out with bears, but now about anything can be turned into a gummi including dolphins, worms, spiders, and many different kinds of fruit shapes. Eat one Gummi Shroom, and who knows what shapes the rest of your gummis will take.

METHY WAY - There's nothing like the nougat and caramel mixed with household cleaners cut with a hint of baby formula to make these bars, which are produced in mini labs across the nation.

7-UPPERS - These are the old wax bottles that contain liquid uppers to give kids that extra boost of energy that Red Bull just can't deliver.

BEER BOTTLE CAPS - Catch the flavor of all your favorite suds including Killians, Budweiser, Foster's, etc.

POP ROCK COCAINE - Pop rocks are back with more punch. Just don't mix inside a can of Coke because some kid died when he did that.

JUJUPCP - What's better than fruit flavored bits of angel dust?

BIT O HEROIN - This heroin is processed until it is hard and chewy, then formed into bit chunks. The good news: No more track marks!

ECSTASY CREAM EGGS - Inside this egg shaped candy is a wonderful ecstasy pill surrounded by a creamy "yolk." Great for raves.

$100,000 BRICK - The makers of the $100,000 bar now make a 2.2-pound brick of chocolate hashish worth a cool 100 G's. The problem is, the rich kids who can afford it view the brick as only one serving and typically OD.

SPEED GUMBALL - The most dangerous gumball, which mixes cocaine with heroin in scores of flavors.

CRACK JACKS - Some smooth sailor will say there's a surprise inside every box, goldilocks! Not any more, you cracker jack whore!

LITTLE DEBBIE POT BROWNIES - Leave it to Little Debbie to cash in on the drug snack cake market in an attempt to show up Hostess cornering the prostitute candy consumers with their Ho-Hos.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Scotty Gets Beamed Up

I was saddened to hear that Scotty got beamed up Wednesday.

Scotty - AKA actor James Doohan - was chief engineer Montgomery Scott in the Star Trek TV series and motion pictures. He died from complications from pneumonia and Alzheimer's disease, not trouble with Tribbles.

The Alzheimer's had really started to take its toll. One night before his hospitalization, Scotty was seen cavorting with a Klingon. He had mistakenly thought it was his old bridge buddy Chekov.

Many Trekkies brushed that off, thinking Scotty simply might have gotten into some Romulan Ale. But then the mix-ups - like not knowing what dilythium crystals were for - escalated.

"We were out for a drive and saw Picard and Geordi next to us at a stoplight," Captain Kirk reminisced. "They were being cocky, revving their engine trying to egg us on to race."

"When the light went green, Geordi started burning rubber and took off," Kirk added. "I told Scotty 'Warp speed now!' Usually, he would totally gun it. But Scotty just let those Next Generation punks leave us in a cloud of star dust."

It got worse. Scotty swore he saw Sulu on a new TV show called The Iron Chef. He met Dr. Spock and asked him what happened to his pointy ears. Then, he claimed he saw Uhura's picture on a bottle of pancake syrup.

"I heard he walked into Enterprise and demanded to see the engine room," Kirk said, choking back tears. "But it was just the rent-a-car place and they gave him the keys to a Ford Taurus instead. At this point, we knew something was wrong with Scotty."

The last straw was when he didn't even recognize Captain Kirk.

"Bones, do something," Kirk was overheard pleading with a physician who looked nothing like Dr. McCoy (or actor DeForest Kelley), in the final days before July 20.

When the doctor didn't respond, Kirk shook him and said "Where's the comeback? You're supposed to say something like 'Dammit, Jim, I'm an actor not a doctor.'"

After questioning the medical care at the hospital, Kirk asked if they had one of those metal box wheelchairs with two lightbulbs on the front - like the one used on Captain Pike - to keep Scotty going. Kirk (pictured below in his Star Fleet graduation picture) also kept harassing the female staff, asking if there were any green alien chicks he could bang.

The hospital staff tried to have security remove Captain Kirk from the room, but he would not acknowledge them since they weren't wearing red long-sleeved sweaters or Federation badges.

At this posting, Scotty's funeral arrangements were pending, most likely to be held in about 5 or 6 days.

"I don't have 5 or 6 days, it has to be in 2," Kirk demanded.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Steelers Fan Gets Sudden Death Wish

Leave it to a football fan to make the most of a "sudden death." I read a bizarre story about the funeral arrangements of a diehard Pittsburgh Steelers fan the other day and I just about died laughing.

After James Henry Smith died from prostate cancer last Thursday, his family thought it only fitting to turn his wake into a Pittsburgh Steelers shrine. Smith was laid out in his favorite recliner with a continuous loop of Steelers highlights playing on the television.

Funeral director Roland Criswell, of the Samuel E. Coston Funeral Home, arranged furniture and other football props in the same fashion it would have been on game day in Smith's home.

Smith's corpse was kicked back in the recliner with a pack of cigarettes and a six-pack of beer within reach. He had the television remote in his hand (this proves point to you ladies that you can't get the "flicker" from some men, even when they're dead) and a Steelers blanket across his legs.

This was a short but sweet story and a very inventive way for a Steelers fan to have his funeral service. But there seems to be a lot missing here. If you are going to go crazy with a funeral like this, you have to go all out.

Here's what was missing from the story (and what would have happened if I had chosen the career path of funeral director and lived in the Pittsburgh area):

Fans of Smith showed up for the funeral service 4 to 6 hours early to "tailgate" in the funeral home parking lot. Mostly, they drank beer and ate hot dogs and brats. Some even painted their faces in Steelers colors. Five of Smith's former co-workers were shirtless, each sporting a letter of his last name in gold paint on their chests.

At noon, a referee appeared and performed a coin toss, which determined which end of the funeral home the service would take place.

Al Michaels and John Madden were on hand to deliver the eulogy. The duo was also the reason the funeral was scheduled for Monday night. Michaels started out with the facts of Smith's life and Madden added goofy banter like why Smith was part of his All-Madden dead fan team.

Franco Harris was on hand just in case any props fell from the corpse's lap, like a plate of nachos or a bowl of popcorn. The funeral director didn't have NFL-caliber reflexes and would have only deflected said dishes as they fumbled their way to the floor. With Harris in the backfield, he would certainly make an immaculate reception and save the 12 X 12 piece of astro turf placed under the recliner from any salsa or nacho cheese stains.

Terry Bradshaw would call for a huddle every couple of minutes to call plays. "Inez, take a fake handoff of this sympathy bouquet of black and gold roses," he'd say. "But Ethel, you go deep. During the Hail Mary, I'll toss them to you in the end zone behind the altar. The count will be on two. Ready, break!"

If you wanted to view the body up close you had to make it by the current Steelers offensive line. Initially funeral goers would only try to rush the stage one or two at a time, resulting in double and triple team blocking. But eventually they figured out a few could break through by blitzing several weepy old ladies.

During "halftime" of the service, the funeral goers were split into two groups and brought to separate locker rooms in the basement. There, coach Bill Cowher bitched them out for what they did wrong in the first half and tried to give them advice on adjustments they could make for the funeral's second half. Confusing plays using X's and O's were drawn up on chalkboards to try and explain how to go through the buffet line.

Around the 2 minute warning, Smith's body was loaded inside of a football shaped leather casket that said Wilson in huge letters. Once inside, the "coffin" was laced up and then signed by NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

Former Steelers defensive tackle Mean Joe Greene insisted on being the only pallbearer and dragged the football coffin on his back out of the funeral home and made the 100-yard trek to the burial site in the end zone. After Green crossed the goal line, he spiked the leather casket, and did a small celebration dance to the delight of funeral fans.

After the service, Greene limped down a basement hallway at the funeral parlor, his black suit jacket off and slung over his shoulder. Greene was exhausted, possibly injured and sweating profusely. A little kid tried to offer encouragement to the Steel Curtain's anchor and asked for his autograph, but Greene blew him off. Then when the little squirt offered Greene an ice-cold bottle of Coca Cola. Greene guzzled it, then tossed the kid his sweat-drenched suit coat as a token of thanks.

Something tells me James Henry Smith would have loved these additional options added to his Fantasy Funeral playbook. These ideas will not completely go to waste as I have a hunch one of my wife's old co-workers would want his funeral exactly as listed above, with the only change possibly being asked to be buried at "sea" in one of the 3 rivers that flow through Pittsburgh by the old stadium site.

I'm a diehard Minnesota Vikings fan, but a purple pride funeral would be a hard sell to my wife (Even though she wouldn't have to worry any more about Red McCombs threatening to move my funeral to Los Angeles or San Antonio, or the potential of Randy Moss taking a funeral off).
I'd be cool with former QB Fran Tarkenton scrambling to the event, but wouldn't think it was that incredible to invite John Davidson to croon a funeral hymn (although I might be fine with Cathy Lee Crosby doing a scripture reading).

My wife also wouldn't fulfill my request to have Jim Marshall be a pallbearer because she'd worry he would haul my casket off in the wrong direction.
I don't think she'd allow all guests to wear helmets with horns coming out of them, or any type of animal fur outfits. I did talk her into having one of our wedding photos taken on the pirate ship in the pool area of Fargo's Holiday Inn while we all wore eye patches, but my final idea would not be ship-shape with her: Something tells me she'd never warm up to the idea of my corpse being set afloat on a burning Viking ship on Lake Minnetonka.