I might be the only person in the world who finds pure comedic gold in the idea of inserting a popular TV or movie character into some other part of pop culture.
Ok, I'm not the only person. Family Guy lives and dies by those kinds of jokes (ostensibly written by manatees, according to South Park). Still, sometimes something strikes me as so outlandish I can't help but laugh at myself.
My most recent one of these character mashups involved renowned Jedi Master Yoda driving the Grave Digger monster truck. I don't know why it seemed so funny (perhaps I was tired?), but I keep thinking Yoda would be a force (pun totally and regretfully intended) in Monster Jam. I mean, he could use the Force to do some death-defying stunts.
Perhaps he could star in Dancing With the Stars. Green guy has some killer moves. (I'm actually astounded that ABC/Disney has not used him as a guest judge on a talent show or something.)
If any of these things come to pass, let me know about them. I figure the manatees will eventually write one of these things, or perhaps Seth MacFarlane is just reading my blog and decides to rip it off wholesale (which I'm ok with.)
On a good day, children have bizarre and borderline disgusting eating habits. When it comes to condiments, mine go off the charts.
My youngest son will demand ketchup, and ketchup alone, at a restaurant. I went through half of a bottle at Denny's once trying to keep him from causing a scene. He has also eaten an entire cup of cocktail sauce while claiming it was ketchup.
My oldest son, I saw him dip a piece of fruit in BBQ sauce then proceed to wolf it down. If I thought long enough, I might be able to come with a fruit that might work with that. But this was watermelon.
I probably just need to fight back a little, with a little gross-out of my own. Perhaps I'll serve up their plates of ketchup and BBQ-melon, and I'll have a heaping plate of mayonnaise.
A recent event in Pittsburgh featured an appearance by Jonathan Ke Quan, better known to folks in my generation as either Data from Goonies or Short Round from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
All I could think about is how often he's asked to say the one-liners from those movies. That has to suck for him. His acting career fizzled out a few decades ago, and now he's just the guy who informs Indy that there are, in fact, no more parachute(s) aboard the plane.
Does he flat out refuse those requests? Does he fire a set of toy teeth into your crotch if you ask? Does he make a fast escape, shooting oil from the back of his shoes?
Jonathan, if you're out there, let me know. I'd love to know how the fame of Short Round has treated you over the years.
If I could go back in time, I would love to sit down at the meeting where toy executives gave the thumbs up on some of the designs of the first generation of Transformers.
"Yeah, let's just go with that. I mean, kids won't care if their toy doesn't even closely resemble the character on the show."
I'm looking at you, guy who approved the design of Ironhide.
One can only imagine the scorn heaped upon unsuspecting parents who purchased that toy by their discontented child. The thing cost $15 in 1984 ($1.6 million in today's dollars, judging the value of money by the way my mom refused to buy them back then.)
It was a travesty. A mockery of the intelligence of children. At least Megatron looked like a real gun (and apparently had a healthy libido as a robot). Luckily, my mother never bought me the Ironhide toy, but I had a friend who had him. He's a serial killer now, or probably at least poorly-adjusted.
Cartoon makers take heed - never draw anything for your animated show that cannot be made into a toy. Heed the tale of Ironhide.
When school gets cancelled or delayed because it is too cold, a funny thing happens.
Parents who normally are overprotective (and overbearing) talk about how that never happened when they were kids and that kids aren't tough nowadays. It's funny to me because these are the very same parents who might be largely responsible for any lack of "toughness" in today's youth.
When we went to school, there were no parents who would sue the school district for making us wait for the bus in cold weather. When we went to school, we actually rode the bus, come to think of it. You got dropped off at school by an irritated parent if you missed the school bus.
When we went to school, we ate the hell out of gluten, peanut butter and eggs. Kids were only allergic to bee stings back then. Snow days were a rare thing, but no one had to scramble for child care. We had it nice. You stayed at home with mom or went to grandma's house.
And most importantly, by the time we went to school, they figured out how to make hills uphill in only one direction.
A miniature deck of cards? Tiny handcuffs? A sticker with the logo of your favorite team? Fat chance.
I was duped many a time by those machines in the entryway to the department store. I would happily forfeit my only quarter for a shot at those tiny playing cards. They looked cool.
One turn of the metal knob later, plastic disappointment would roll down to the door. Nowhere in the display did it show a plastic ant that could be worn as a ring. There were no stickers of the Pittsburgh Steelers or Dallas Cowboys in those machines. Heck, you were lucky to even get a football sticker half of the time.
Someone out there stocked those machines. I hope they feel immense guilt at duping millions of children out of their quarters. If not, I hope one of them can find it in their heart to send me a miniature batting helmet from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Lord knows I probably put your kids through college, it's the least you could do.
Anytime the show "Newhart" was about to come on, there was a scramble for each person to take a position.
One person plopped down on the couch to watch the television. One ran over to the doorway to the outside. The last person went to the TV antenna.
Then there was a two-minute relay of hollering instructions back and forth until the station came in. This was almost always followed by the person on the couch yelling out that the station went away after the person turning the antenna stopped touching it.
Oh, we had it so rough. But how else were you going to watch Daryl, his brother Larry, and his other brother Daryl?
So my 6-year-old son wants a copy of the new Super Smash Bros. game for the Nintendo Switch. It's a fun game, but it got me thinking about a video game idea I had ages ago that would be even better.
How about a fighting game with biblical characters? The roster could be incredible. The finishing moves would be awesome. Here are some of my ideas:
The game could be awesome, especially in Solo Mode, when you reach the Revelation Stage.
Among the most ill-conceived designs in video game console history was the Sears Tele-Games version of Pong.
Before all of the sleek-looking boxes to play your video games, there was this version of Pong. It was a box with two knobs on it. Knobs which could be easily reached by your sister, er, opponent.
You see, it was entirely possible for one to simply reach over and fiddle with the other person's hand as the ball approached. You might watch in horror on your 13-inch black-and-white TV as the square pixel, passing as a ball, goes past your paddle. You might punch your sister. A brawl over pong cheating might break out.
You also may never see the pong console again after that night in 1981.
I've always found it amusing when you open a product and there is some sort of warning about not doing something extraordinarily dumb with the product.
No doubt some idiot won a rather large lawsuit (or at least filed one) blaming the manufacturer for their own profound stupidity. You shouldn't have to be warned not to stick a cattle prod into your nose, it goes without saying that you shouldn't reach under a running lawn mower. And yet, we are warned not to do these things.
The people who actually do these things have to be the ones you knew as children, who did ridiculous things under the auspices that their parents hadn't specifically told them NOT to do it. You know, like dad didn't ever say not to pour gasoline from a mason jar onto a burning fire. Have fun in the burn unit.
In all seriousness, I think a prerequisite to attempting to shift blame for your lack of intelligence onto a manufacturer should be filling out a form called "What did you think was going to happen?" In it, you have to chronicle your total lack of common sense and complete inability to foresee any natural consequence of your brain giving you the thumbs up for something patently stupid. No form, no lawsuit.
Companies are known to be negligent from time to time, but they should not have to account for the bozo who thinks it's a good idea to fashion plastic wrap into a parachute and jump from the roof of their house.
My brain is a curious thing. It bounces from place to place, from the exceedingly strange to the terribly mundane. Every once in awhile, something will pop into my head that is just completely out of nowhere. Totally random.