It’s happening again!
I came out of the post office this afternoon and found that someone had left an ominous message on my car.
At first I thought it was a coupon for microwave popcorn, but then I re-read the headline and realized it was something far more sinister.
Looks like this freelance writer/part-time San Fernando Valley Vocational College professor of iconology, symbology and Mexican gang tags is once again being pulled into some dangerous, lightning-paced escapade that’ll take me all over Europe, while revealing earth-shattering truths about history and religion, challenging my beliefs in the Church and quite possibly shaking my very faith to its core.
But who left it? Who’s been watching me so closely to know that I check my p.o. box precisely every few days or so? And usually some time in the afternoon after I’ve woken up, dragged my ass out of bed, sobered up, had lunch, and played a little online Monopoly: World Edition?
Perhaps these muddy paw prints on the trunk are a clue – the first in a series of increasingly intricate riddles I’ll have to decipher in order to find out who is behind this nefarious puzzle and lay bare an explosive ancient truth before it’s lost forever.
Naah. Pretty sure they’ve been there for weeks.
Ah, Officer Ed Wells…
He’s only in a handful of episodes, but he’s always a dick.
Congratulations to Ryan Lewis and Macklewhosis!
While they were just Grammy-nominated for song of the year for “Same Love,” perhaps they’re better known for “Thrift Shop” – whose lyrics Goodwill cleverly co-opted for use on posters in their Southern California store windows earlier this year:
Coppin’ it, washin’ it, ’bout to go and get some compliments
I’m gonna pop some tags
Only got twenty dollars in my pocket
I-I-I’m hunting, looking for a come-up, this is f—ing awesome
I wear your granddad’s clothes.
I look incredible.
And so on.
Surprisingly, there’s no corresponding posters for the lyrics “What up, I got a big —-!” or “I’ll take those flannel zebra jammies, second-hand, I rock that mother——” or even “That’s just some ignorant b—-.”
Still, (used, unwashed) hats off to Goodwill for having their finger on the pulse of pop culture.
By the way, for you folks over the age of, what?, twenty-five, “pop some tags” means removing price tags after you’ve purchased the item. But don’t feel bad! Judging by all the discarded paper stubs and price stickers on the floors and tucked into the walls of Goodwill dressing rooms, I think a number of their shoppers may have misinterpreted the song as well.
IT’S a Parsnips Family Tradition, every year on the Friday following Thanksgiving, to pile into the car and head over to our local Big Lots, where we ooh and ah over this year’s hot sauce gift sets. Like your family*, we too consider it the official beginning of the holiday season, and it just wouldn’t be Christmas without marveling at all the colorful bottles filled to the brim with vinegar and peppers, salt and, of course!, xanthan gum, each one containing the same ingredients in minutely varying amounts to create just the perfect formula for, say, Ragin’ Blaze or even Kickin’ Cayenne!
*Unless your closest Big Lots is in Marysville, WA, apparently.
And there’s always the nostalgia when you see your own kids peering in wonderment at all the different themed boxes – just like you and I did when our parents brought us to look at the hot sauce collections so many years ago. Good times. Good times.
…Eh, so anyway, after we all had our fill of that, we wandered down the stocking stuffers aisle. Not sure when candy excrement became a thing, but I know those “pooping reindeer” toys have been around for a few years. Today, the novelty line with that Sphincter-Shooting Action™ scores of fans have come to love includes Santa, a penguin, a snowman and this little fella:
Can we get a closeup of the head? We can? Excellent!
Seems…hmm..kind of familiar doesn’t he?
Why, yes – he looks just like the Grinch’s dog Max – if he was suffering from an acute and rather severe case of Gastric Dilatation Volvulus, which sound like Seuss words but are much harder to rhyme. Too much roast beast?
Regardless, while this may not be the perfect gift for you or me, I reckon it’ll be a hit with the Widow Seuss, who can probably expect a nice little settlement from the manufacturer once she gets her attorneys – Floob, Boober, Bab, Boober & Bubs, presumably! – on the case!
“And the good thing, honey, is that there’s no reason you can’t wear this with the Catholic schoolgirl uniform I like!”
$5.97 in Walmart’s toy section!
In eager anticipation of KCET’s Huell Howsgiving Day Amaze-a-thon – and I know you share my prayers that they don’t air that annoying bunny museum one yet again – here are some stills from the episode where Huell interviews Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston:
“Well, I don’t know if you can really consider peanut butter donuts an addiction.”
“Now is it possible to make meth amphetamines from lint? ‘Cause I know this lady…”
“If you were cooking up a small batch, yes, I suppose you could set up a lab in a teardrop trailer. But it would be…cramped.”
Naw, I’m kidding of course. Actually, these are from the opening sequence of local Nashville, Tennessee program “The Happy World of Huell Howser” from 1973.
Clearly the interview subject above is a slightly older, time-traveling Chris Pratt, and while it’s been taped, Chris himself hasn’t actually taped it yet.
HUGE collector of early Hanna-Barbera memorabilia here. Huge collector. I’ve got all the old toys and games and Little Golden Books and cigar bands and everything else, so what’s left to collect but vintage animation art? Nothing, that’s what!
Below is a trio of particularly magnificent pieces I picked up from one of those scumbag animation dealers – a hand-painted title card, a pan background and a hand-inked production cel on its matching background all from the same cartoon. Whoa. I know, right? Since it’s no longer the mid-1990s and original animation art is worthless again, I paid thirty bucks for the lot and that bastard – some asshole from Long Island – was damn lucky to get it.
The art is from a rarely seen cartoon where Sheriff “Ping-Ping-Piiing!” Ricochet Rabbit tries to keep notorious terrorist “Pecos Nabil” (accused of using “dirty bombs on innocent townfolk – and they was wearin’ their Sunday best!”) in custody until government agents can pick him up and try him in federal court.
Title card by Alex Lovydovy.
Desert background by Thomas Dick.
It’s the rare Ricochet Rabbit outing where the cartoon ends with the villain having gotten the best of the hyperactive good guy, but they exist. In this one, writer Warren Fester was apparently married to the idea of Nabil (Daw Sputler, in his best generic bad guy voice) yelling “Allie Akbar, an’ stuff like that there!” while triumphantly hoisting Ricochet’s decapitated head in the air.
Production cel on matching background.
Still, the lupine lawman gets the last word when his deputy drawls “Don’t lose your head, Mister Ricochet!” and the disembodied noggin responds with – what else? – “Too late, Droop! Toooooo late!” accompanied by a little five second musical sting back-timed from the end of Jack Shindig’s magnificent opus for kazoo and glockenspiel, TL#26374-J “Tapioca Sideshow.”
For you obsessive types, here’s the whole cartoon broke down, you know, musical-like:
0:00 – Ricochet Rabbit Sub Main Title Theme (Drape).
0:13 – PALSIED MOVEMENT (Loose-Stooly) – Opening narration – Don Sic’em.
0:33 – LAF-6-9 DIDDLING PIXIES (Shindig) – Close-up of Ricochet and Droopalong relaxing in jail office, to explosion.
2:22 – PH-7753 WHORE ON THE CORNER (Shindig) – Ricochet / Pecos Nabil chase scene, “I’ll put a fatwa on your fat head!”
3:08 – LBGT-77-4 LIGHT IN THE LOAFERS (Shindig) – Nabil checking map, “Gotta make sure I’m facin’ Mesa!”
4:16 – P-4456 SLEIGHRIDE CONCUSSION (Less) – Ricochet lays prayer mat over hole at edge of cliff.
4:54 – PBBT-3-2 TRUMPET FART PARADE (Shindig) – Nabil kneels, plummets down, “I ain’t goin’ back to… Guantanamohhhhhhhhh!”
5:30 – YV-667-2 MONOTONOUS WHIMSY (Shaarkrau?) – Pan across desert to Droop and Ricochet having pulled dresses onto dozens of saguaro cacti. “Well, Mister Ricochet, that makes seventy-two. I shore hope your idea works!”
6:25 – JG-647 MOTORBOAT TRAGEDY (Loose-Stooly) – Nabil isn’t fooled, laughs at Ricochet: “You forgot the hijabs, you hijerk!”
6:48 – TERMINAL FRIVOLITY (Chartreuse) – “Before I finish you off, to show you I ain’t all bad, I offer you salam.” “I ain’t hungry!” Machete chop sfx, Ricochet/Droop exchange, iris out.
6:55 – Ricochet Rabbit Sub End Title theme (Drape)
Don’t worry, gang – he’ll be back, intact, in the next cartoon, probably called “Pest of the West” or something!
BACK IN AUGUST, Leo Laporte, on his show The Tech Guy, sheepishly admitted to having spent three hundred dollars on the mobile game “The Simpsons: Tapped Out” by Electronic Arts before it crapped out: The game irreparably crashed and he was done with it.
Leo went on to half-jokingly (?) advise listeners to “never, ever, ever, ever, ever play an Electronic Arts game,” because “they don’t care [and] they will break your heart.” Though he said it all laughingly, my guess is he was more annoyed than he let on but didn’t want to piss off a large tech company.
But I can understand his sentiments: EA Games quarterly report announced they had already made over $50 million on Tapped Out since it debuted in February 2012, and almost $10 million of that was in March of this year.
Given all that money, any glitches and problems with the game might seem inexcusable. Questions about problems with the game are ignored on EA’s own message boards and forums so many players instead head over to fansite “Tapped Out Tips” to find answers.
I’ve been lucky – I’ve had few problems with the game, aside from it quitting abruptly from time to time (and more so than ever during their current Halloween event). But I have seen my share of texture glitches. Click here to see my first post on this topic.
And, well, since that entry got a lot of hits, here’s a bunch more glitches I took screen caps of since then!
No, that’s not Jesus walking on water. That’s the stupid do-nothing Fiddler I accidentally bought for 50 donuts and now she doesn’t know her place – namely the Squidport boardwalk.
The mob has taken over Springfield – or at least its headquarters, the Legitimate Businessman’s Social Club, has taken over all my brown houses.
Channel 6 is experiencing technical difficulties. Please stand by.
It’s like the day after Halloween – a series of broken eggs litter the streets of Springfield.
The Aztec Theater glitches itself into the Googolplex.
Able to leap Valentine’s trees in a single bound, it’s SuperMarge!
Who knew Drederick Tatum had a twin brother who also has an identical pet tiger?
Seeing Otto passed out on the lawn outside the bowling alley may not seem unusual, but he’s actually supposed to be on the roof of the school bus.
Forty Carls growing out of the ground – the monstrous effects of a mishap at the nuclear power plant, perhaps?
Maybe not – it’s affected Grampa, too.
Decapitated Scratchy balloons? Clearly the work of my Itchy balloons.
Multiples of a static character in a line was happening to me for a while:
Hans Moleman leads his underground army above ground?
From the Whacking Day event, six (unwhackable) snakes in a row.
Hmm…do we really want Snake in charge of guarding Springfield Penitentiary?
And speaking of characters as fences…
It seems Miss Springfield really is as dumb as a post, or a series of posts. Here she is at Krustylu Studios. By the way, some of you keep your holiday items in your inventory. Me, I keep ’em on the Krustylu backlot. (People on the studio tour love to see this stuff.)
Bumblebee Man tapes an unfortunate skit for his show on Channel Ocho about the border fence.
These evil talking Krusty dolls will keep anyone out!
Oh, the indignity. Sideshow Mel goes from second banana to landscaping.
And, finally, this one?
I don’t know what to say except it didn’t last nearly as long as I’d have wanted it to.
Since they brought back spokesclown Jack in semi-human form almost twenty (!) years ago, many of Jack-in-the-Box’s countless commercials have been inspired.
And here’s one from a couple of months ago that’s been inspired by an episode of “The Brady Bunch!”
I mean, come on! The hair, the outfit, the tinted glasses, the wrist bands, the rings!
This is an obvious homage to Skip Farnum, the far-out, groovy would-be director of that “Safe” detergent commercial the Bradys almost starred in, right?
I mean, it’s not an exact match, but it’s pretty darn close!
Looks and uninhibited attitude aside, while Paul Winchell’s post-beatnik, pseudo-hippie kook knows exactly what he wants but can’t get it out of the over-“motivating” Brady family, the unnamed Jack-in-the-Box director is in way over his head and is throwing anything at the wall to see if it’ll stick.
I’d like to think – and now you would, too – that this is in fact Skip Farnum, Jr. and he followed in Daddy’s footsteps as a TV commercial director but sadly, inherited none of his father’s talent – yet, he’s still considered brilliant because of the family name.
Commercials are always a little more fun for me if I develop an entire mythology or at least some sort of backstory around each one. Perhaps someday I’ll share with you some of the erotic Mr. Whipple / Madge the Manicurist fanfic I wrote years ago when puberty descended on me like a plague of hairy, oily locusts.
Oh boy oh boy oh boy – a Dragnet / Munsters crossover! Now, that’d be something to see!
“Good afternoon ma’am, we’re detectives with the Los Angeles Police Department…
My name’s Sgt. Friday, this is my partner, Bill Gannon. We’re investigating a robbery next door and–”
“The cemetery! Not again! Grandpa! You get up here right away! Officers, if I’ve told that man once, I’ve told him a hundred times, you get your corpses from the scientific supply catalog, like a normal person–”
“No, ma’am, you don’t understand, we’re talking about the property to the other side of you. You see–”
“–Lily, who’s at the door?”
“It’s the police, dear. Officers, this is my husband, Herman.”
[Friday and Gannon look sidelong at one another with raised eyebrows.]
“Ah, the boys in blue! Don’t tell me Spot carried off one of your patrol cars again! Lily, Eddie has got to keep that pet of his chained up. Eddie! You come down here!”
“Actually, we’re detectives investigating a robbery next door at the Petersons.”
“Oh, detectives, eh?”
[Herman reaches into his jacket; Friday and Gannon grab for their guns.]
[Herman pulls out a Dick Tracy Crime Stopper badge.]
“Always glad to meet colleagues, haw haw haw!”
[Gannon and Friday exchange another glance as they relax and pull their hands out of their jackets.]
“We just wanted to know if you might have seen anything that could help us.”
“That’s right, folks – maybe a van or truck you didn’t recognize, strangers loitering around, anything out of the ordinary.”
“In this neighborhood? Good heavens, where do I begin? Won’t you two come in?”
“Thank you, ma’am.”
And there’d probably be some nonsense with Lily trying to foist Marilyn on Joe once she realizes he’s a bachelor, and the raven in the clock popping out and squawking “Beat it! The fuzz!” and Eddie asking Bill to kiss Woof-Woof good night, and so on and so forth.
Ah, what might have been!
Next time: I pull up some screen caps from that episode of “Mission: Impossible” where they use the Brady Bunch living room set and write something hilarious about that, too!