Growing up, McDonalds definitely hit a chord with us kids. I mean, think about it - they created "McDonaldland," filled with characters we liked! Below is a list of all the ones I could think of:
Ronald McDonald - Obviously, the President of McDonaldland. He was like the Mick Jagger of McDonaldland - the lead singer, head honcho, numero uno. Sure, he was a clown, but he always seemed witty to the rest of the characters ... the others looked up to him like he was the Fonz ... just without a cool leather jacket.
Mayor McCheese - From what I remember, this guy was a bumbling idiot. Hard to believe he was able to become Mayor of McDonaldland ... unless he was in Ronald's pocket. Of course, we never really saw any candidates running against him for Mayor.
Big Mac - He looked very similar to Mayor McCheese, and often chased after the Hamburgler (more on him in a second). Perhaps this was a prelude to the previous Mayor in Philadelphia - Mayor John Street, whose brother Milton was a bumbling knucklehead who somehow was able to secure an important job at the Philadelphia International Airport (probably why said airport is awful).
The Hamburgler - Yes folks, even McDonaldland has criminals. The Hamburgler always tried to steal burgers from unsuspecting people, but much like the Trix rabbit, was always caught in the end. The Wet Bandits thought this guy was a bad criminal.
Captain Crook was another criminal, and looked quite a bit like Captain Hook. However, he was focused on the Filet O' Fish sandwich ... which makes no sense to me, because I can't think of any kid who'd choose a Filet O' Fish over a hamburger from McDonalds.
The Fry Guys - These annoying little sh*ts whould go around and steal everybody's french fries. They were blue, red, and yellow (I think), and they were short. They would just run around and gobble up fries (coincidentally, their original names were the Goblins). Man, McDonaldland was full of criminals, come to think about it!
Birdie the Early Bird - This bird with a pink jump suit, flight cap and scarf generally promoted McDonalds breakfasts. This is probably also the reason she didn't fly.
Grimace - Grimace is a fat purple monster who is probably about as bumbling as Mayor McCheese. Not really sure what his profession is, but he always seemed to have enough money to purchase a milk shake and yuk it up with Ronald.
The 1980's brought us one of the greatest sit-coms in the history of television. A sitcom that, strangely enough, took place in a bar ... where everybody knew your name? That's right, I'm talking about Cheers!
It is a goal of most people (well, if it isn't, it should be!) to be a recognized name/face in a neighborhood bar, much like the lovable (yet unemployed) Norm. To reach those social heights truly is remarkable (and possibly expensive).
The show itself had a bumpy start, almost being canceled after the first season. NBC did the impossible, and decided to stick with the show, and it gradually gained momentum. The show consisted of a core group of characters, even though throughout its existence, the show did lose some key "players." Surprisingly, the show was able to replace them, for instance, replacing Coach with Woody, or Diane with Rebecca, and still be able to be funny and witty.
A show that mostly took place in a bar - a novel concept indeed!
Since it's Thanksgiving, I figured I'd choose the only "real" Thanksgiving song out there - Adam Sandler's "The Thanksgiving Song." No, it's not really an artistic masterpiece, and no, the lyrics aren't inspiring ... but, they are kind of funny. Plus, it actually allows us to sometimes remember that Thanksgiving does fall in between Halloween and Christmas. It was played on the radio a lot in the late 1990's and early 2000's, but truthfully, I haven't heard it much in recent years.
Sandler strummed this diddy live in front of an audience for his comedy show, and luckily enough, it was taped. It gained momentum, and the rest is history. Probably, my favorite line in the whole thing is "Gobble Gobble Gee and Gobble Gobble Giggle ... I was turkey only cost a Nickel." Genius? Of course not ... but, I'm a guy who laughs uncontrollably at fart jokes ... so there.
It's time once again for http://www.mamakatslosinit.com/! Since it's Thanksgiving week, I figured I'd write a poem about what I'm thankful for ... BUT, I decided I'd do a Haiku (because I'm cool like that):
I love Thanksgiving Turkey, family and friends. A day off of work!
Unofficial start To the Christmas holiday. Countdown to St. Nick!
Unbuckle the belt. I ate too much once again. No room for my beer!
Dinner is over. We go to the movies next. Which one will we see?
We take a moment. We remember our loved ones. No longer with us.
I have to thank my coworker "Fozzie" for this one - a tremendous effort!
What do you guys and gals think about a person paying with a check in the express checkout line in the supermarket? Doesn't this defeat the purpose of "express?" And, really, I guess I could've expanded this to writing a check anywhere but at home? With the invention of check cards, what's the point? But, I digress.
You can probably guess where I sit on this, as I normally get very upset when someone goes through a 12-item-or-less express check-out with 13 items ... follow the rules, dammit!
Since I did the $1 burger review the other day, I figured it convenient to do the $1 chicken sandwich review. I'll add a couple of more fast food joints, since they serve them too.
KFC has the Snacker - really just a fried chicken finger put between two buns. It's simplistic, but at a dollar, not too bad (especially if you like their chicken fingers). The roll has sesame seeds, which for some reason, is a bonus. Sadly, their fries suck.
Sonic has a $1 chicken sandwich as well - they actually put two small chicken fingers in between the bun, but the bun seems to fall apart too easily. Still, sometimes quantity over quality has its advantages. Plus, their fries are pretty darn good (and you can even get tots!).
Burger King has the $1 Tendercrisp, and it's a very good effort. They too have a sesame seed bun, and the filet is nice-sized. Toppings are pretty good, but don't always look as fresh as they should. And, I've already spoke about the fries last week.
McDonalds' effort is similar to the McDouble ... for the most part, bland, with a roll that doesn't have sesame seeds. Nothing stands out, BUT the fries always seem to make the sandwich taste better (on a side note, why hasn't any fast-food place, with the exception of Arby's, come up with a really good fry?).
Wendy's $1 chicken sandwich is the original on the dollar menu. The roll is buttery, the toppings are fresh, and thankfully the sandwich is bigger than the $1 burger. One of the many reasons why Wendy's still has the best $1 menu around.
MTV was a cable channel ahead of its time. It promoted music videos ... a foreign concept for the most part. Sure, there were shows like American Bandstand and Solid Gold, but they pretty much promoted a "band" playing a song "live." Other bands did music "videos" to promote their albums in the past, and these may have been sown on music shows, but to have a 24-hour music channel that showed nothing but videos? Could this even work?
Well, it did, and boy did it ever! Videos spewed from this channel like crazy - from the first video, which was ironically called "Video Killed the Radio Star," to "Hot For Teacher," the appetite of the people could not be satisfied. The music video genre jumped to another level with Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video - it was more of a short movie. Music videos became more artistic, more professional, and had more of a storytelling aspect to them.
Sadly, sometime in the 1990's, MTV began abandoning music videos, and now unfortunately, one can really only find music videos on MTV early in the morning (like 5:30 AM). It's a good thing there are so many other music video channels out there representing many, many genres - so it's not a total loss, I guess.
There have been a ton of celebrations in sports history - whether it's the touchdown spike, the high five, the moonwalk (thanks, Donovan), and even the Icky Shuffle. But, one that has taken the country (maybe the world) by storm is the one where two guys jump backwards in the air and smack their .... ummmm ... behinds against each other.
Seriously, it seems like EVERYBODY is doing it. Just watch a college or pro football game. It seems like anytime a touchdown is scored, the guy scoring the TD is jumping backwards and "ass-slapping" all of his teammates. Heck, it even happens when touchdowns aren't scored. Somebody makes a great catch? Backwards-jumping-ass-slap! Somebody gets a sack? You guessed it!
I'm not even sure if there's a name for it - so I submit we call it the B-JAS. Why? I don't know. That's not the point. What do you guys and gals think? Dope or Nope? Personally, I'm tired of it.
It's time once again for Mama Kat's Weekly Homework Assignment! I chose the following prompt this week: Describe in 1000 words or less a time when something happened and you knew that life would never be the same.
Summer came to an end more suddenly than usual. "What do you mean I can't go to the pool anymore," I thought. Thankfully, I was always an early riser, so I had no problems waking up for that first day of Kindergarten. I had to get dressed up all nice - I mean, it was a really warm day, yet I still had to wear long pants! I knew right then and there, that things were going to change.
I felt like a grown up - I had been planning for this day for months! I had new clothes, a new book-bag, and a notebook ... I believe it may have been a Trapper Keeper.
Mom walked me to the bus stop, and I eagerly anticipated School Bus Number 3 coming down the hill - whisking me away to a whole new world! Most of the kids at the stop were nervous, scared, and even sad. Me? I was excited. I couldn't wait to meet new friends. My cousin Drew had gotten on the bus a stop before me, so he was awaiting my entrance (he was a little scared).
That first day was so exciting. The teacher took role, I excitedly raised my hand when I heard my name. My cousin didn't hear his name ... he pretended he was in the same class as me. The teacher in the neighboring room came in and dragged him off. Another friend of mine, Bill, threw up in music class - he was overcome by anxiety as he whimpered, "I don't think I feel so good."
I made it through the entire day, took the bus home, and probably bored the living hell out of my mom as I replayed the entire day.
I've been seeing a lot of commercials in the past month or so on the "Value" menus from the three main competitors - McDonalds, Burger King, and Wendy's. Specifically, they've begun fighting on the double-cheeseburger front. All 3 have their plusses and minuses - let's take a look:
The McDouble: * Plus - one can order a side of the World's greatest fries with it. * Minus - It's probably the most basic and blandest of the burgers.
The Wendy's Double Stack: * Plus - Fresh meat, tasty bun, best toppings. * Minus - It's the smallest of the 3.
The BK Double: * Plus - Flame broiled DOES make a difference, plus, it's the biggest of the three. * Minus - Those Fries are just AWFUL! Plus, most BK's are REALLY SLOW.
When I say "Teddybears," your first thoughts probably center around a sleeping buddy you had back as a little child (no, not Michael Jackson, silly!). You're probably not thinking about an Alt/Indy Rock band, right? That's unfortunate. There's a band out there called "Teddybears," and they've been around since the early 1990's.
They initially started off as a "black-metal band," but have grown up and experimented, using pop, rock, electronica, punk, and even some hip-hop in their music. They even had a song featured on the "FIFA 06" video game. But still, this band has really not been able to crack the ridiculously lame U.S. music "market."
Thankfully, the internet, Pandora, and Slacker (even XM and Sirrius) have been successfully breaking down this confoundingly stupid wall.
One of their newer "hits," called Punkrocker, is one that has intrigued me. No, it doesn't really sound like a punk song (Four Dinners, you can probably chime in on this one), but it has a cool 80's sound. And, if that lead singer's voice sounds familiar, well, I'm pretty sure you've heard him before ... that's right, it's Iggy Pop! How is this not being played in the U.S.?
Many people may have forgotten about this (or some of you youngsters may never have been aware of this), but in the early 1980's, the NFL faced some stiff competition from another football league ... one that originally played in the Spring. This same league battled the NFL fiercely for college football stars, and in many cases won. This league had a national TV contract with ABC and ESPN, and this league had big-time owners - owners like Burt Reynolds and Donald Trump.
But this league lasted less than 1/2 a decade. What were the reasons? Expanding too rapidly? Probably. Moving the sport to the fall to compete directly with the NFL? definitely. Improper marketing techniques? You bet.
But, I loved this league. It worked really well in Philly ... mainly, because at the time the Eagles were in the midst of an awful stretch. The team almost moved to Phoenix at the time, yet many of the "phans" didn't mind, as long as the USFL's Philadelphia Stars were in town. This team was the most successful team in the USFL, making it to the finals every year. There was even talk that the Stars could beat many NFL teams, including Philly's own Eagles.
You can find some more information on the USFL here, in case you're interested.
Also, there's a website that has the entire history of the league, including box scores of games - check it out here!
* I remember being a kindergartner and seeing the 5th graders, and thinking to myself, "There is no way I'm ever going to be able to grow that big in 5 years." Then, when I was a 5th grader and looked at the kindergartners, I thought to myself, "Man, kids are getting smaller and smaller."
* So, why do they call it a SMART Car? The gas mileage isn't very good, AND, if you get in a car accident, chances are you probably won't make it. What's smart about that? They probably work pretty good as city cars, but why wouldn't you just get a Mini Cooper? They look a lot cooler, and are probably a ton safer.
* Chevy Chase sure has made a comeback, hasn't he? He's in a bunch of T-Mobile commercials, and he's been REALLY funny in Community (sitcom on NBC). No, he doesn't do anything too dynamic - your classic Chevy Chase stuff - some good slapstick, funny facial reactions, and impeccable timing. I think we forgot how good of an actor he was over the years ... probably because he's been such a jerk.
It's time once again for Mama Kat's weekly homework assignment. This week, I chose the following prompt: Describe the best/most creative punishment you have ever given your children or received yourself.
It would be hard to pick any of the punishments my mom or dad "demonstrated" on me - whether it was a firm slap to the face, a humiliating ass-spanking, being forced to sit on the steps (I guess an early form of timeout), or the traditional grounding. A total lack of imagination if you ask me ... but still, quite effective. Here's a top 5 list of punishments I would've given myself if I were my parents (does that even make sense?):
5. For the time I called my brother a little pig for not sharing the potato chips ... Mom should've forced me to eat an entire ham ... as many of you know, I fear ham ... this would've been the worst punishment imaginable.
4. For the time I lied about the definition of a whore (I was in 5th grade - I didn't really know what a whore was ... I told my mom, it was a type of horse) ... mom should've forced me to watch Lawrence Welk and HeeHaw for 10 straight hours.
3. For the time I accidentally broke a house window whilst playing sports in the back yard ... Mom or dad should've forced me to wear goofy clothes and shoes to school (oh, wait ... this was already being done ... nevermind).
2. For the time I was caught "replacing" the liquor in my parents' liquor cabinet with water ... Mom and dad should've replaced the liquor with food coloring and urine ... that would've been something the next time I tried to "replace" the liquor.
1. For the time I crashed my parents' car ... they should've told me that they were going to get me a car when I graduated from college, but now could no longer afford to ... oh wait, they did that too ... nevermind!
There was a time in the 1980's when Lionel Richie was cool ... I mean WAY COOL. When Michael Jackson signed on with Pepsi, the Coke people turned to Lionel ... that's how big he was. His mustache seemed to have its own ecosystem ... but people dug it. His hair was flowing with Jerry Curl. He could do no wrong at the time.
Richie's rise coincided with me discovering pop-music on the radio ... prior to that, it was strictly Sesame Street records and German polka for me. It opened a whole world to me ... music with accordions and puppets ?!?!?! Was that even legal?
When I heard Richie's hit song, All Night Long, I felt the rest of my life probably wouldn't be worth living, because I had just heard the greatest song ever created ... it was as if God worked with Richie in the recording studio.
My hips began gyrating ... and I couldn't stop them! (I thought about putting some stupid joke here like, "Lionel had me at Hello," but I figured I'd get too many groans from that one). I WANTED to be dancing ALL NIGHT LONG ... as was depicted by Richie's masterful oratory work.
And, I thought I was cutting edge ... I mean, Richie's song was my first introduction to "reggae" music ... after all, there were steel drums in this song, and Lionel did use some indistinguishable phrase mid-way through the song, just as the party was heating up ... I think it was something like, "Zombo-litte-zetti-mon-ya ... yay ... jumbo-jumbo." I had no idea what it meant, but I wanted to shout it from the roof-tops.
Thankfully, I grew out of this ... and discovered there was better music out there ... but I still can't turn this song off the radio when I hear it.
A local radio station, B-101, started playing Christmas music the day after Halloween. Now, I'm a big fan of Christmas, and I love getting into the Christmas spirit. But, I'm not sure if I like the idea of Christmas music playing on the radio before Thanksgiving.
I guess I feel like Thanksgiving gets ignored or forgotten because of this. And, I'm a big, big fan of Thanksgiving ... turkey, football, family, days off of work ... what's not to love?
So, why do we have to get this Christmas "spirit" pushed on us so soon? (Actually, some department stores started putting up Christmas decorations after Labor Day). I'm a big nope with this - what about you?
Just some odds and ends about me that you probably didn't know (or didn't need to know).
* My mom used to cut my hair ... that's not so crazy ... but, she used to cut my hair with me sitting in a high chair ... again, not that crazy ... but, I was sitting in my brother's high chair, and I was about 12-years old.
* I love watching sports ... not crazy ... I love watching sports news ... still not crazy ... but, when my team loses, I can't watch the sports news ... and I end up not knowing what to do with myself.
* You could probably consider me a meat-and potatoes kind of guy ... except, I'm not a big fan of potatoes (with the exception of french fries and potato chips) ... I prefer elbow macaronis ... so, you should probably consider me a meat and noodles kind of guy.
* I LOVE the Outer Banks ... so much so, that I check out www.avalonpier.com just about every day. I check the pier-cam ... which always seems to remind me that I'd rather be there than at work.
* For a "meat and noodles" kind of guy, I, for some reason, watch far too many romantic comedies.
* My parents were a little behind the times ... we didn't have a microwave oven until I was in 10th grade ... I can't remember what I was forced to eat before the microwave.
* My mom always cooked hot dogs for me on Saturdays when I was growing up. She would boil them, and serve them with a side of toast. For some reason, we never seemed to have hot dog rolls. Sometimes she even served the hot dogs with rye bread. Weird.
Remember the cassette tape? I know, I know - the cassette was out in the 70's ... but it really gained prominence in the 80's. This is when record and tape clubs became huge. I was part of one - I believe it was BMG. I remember getting the 7 or 8 cassettes all at once ... I was overwhelmed. I didn't know what to do with myself. All that music ... only one cassette player ... how would I ever listen to all of that music? (Of course, now with over 1500 cds to my name, I could easily answer that).
Ah the memories ... recording music off the radio ... recording ourselves making fart sounds, making mix tapes with awful names (like Awesome Rock!), actually having to hold the fast forward button down to get to the next song, sometimes having to respool the cassette if the tape unfurled ... yes sir, these were cutting edge times!
I'm not sure how I survived watching shows and sports without you. That old CRT, she means nothing to me! She could never make me feel the way you do, and that's the honest truth. Every day, you look great, lifelike, full of such crystal clear color. I could never go back to ol' "Standard Def."
The way you show baseball, football, and hockey games, makes my heart melt. It's as if you were showing them just to me! And I appreciate every second of it ... even when my sports team doesn't win!
And those movies in high definition? OH .... MY ... GOD!! I get butterflies just turning you on. My life will never be the same, thanks to you!
**** On a side note, the real object of my affection is my wife! And, we're celebrating 6 years of bliss this weekend (we actually unofficially celebrated our anniversary with the cruise last month, but she's so wonderful, I figure we need to celebrate again!).
Lots of fast food restaurants try and drum up business by doing special giveaways or contests. Burger King and McDonalds seem to lead the way with these - sponsoring movies like Transformers or Jumanji by pasting the movie titles and characters on soda cups, sandwich wrappers, bags, and the store (and bombarding us with commercials reminding us that McDonalds and Transformers have teamed up). Let's not forget those cheap "prizes" that come with the happy meals. Kids love these "toys" for some reason ... heck, I remember wanting McDonalds happy meals just to get my hands on Ronald's toys ... er, wait, that didn't sound good.
I remember collecting these Transformer Happy Meal toys as a kid - this was back when the cartoon was out (not the blockbuster movies that I can't get into for some reason). McDonalds "transformed" their meals into "Transformers." The thing is, that these transformers really didn't have any weapons ... all they did was change from a chicken McNugget box into a ... well ... um ... a chicken McNugget robot. And, unlike the intricate detail given to the actual Transformers, there was not much detail at all the Mc-Formers. Oh well, I guess you get what you pay for.
I drink coffee, but I don't consider myself a coffee drinker. I like basic coffee - you know, Maxwell House or Folgers is fine by me. Once in a while, I'll go to the local Wawa and get a Hazelnut or French Vanilla coffee, but that's it. I could care less about "fancy" coffee like Starbucks or some those other "trendy" coffee places that charge $5 a cup.
In fact, I can't fathom spending that much for a cup of coffee. Plus, I think I'd probably strangle the customer in front of me if he/she ordered this specialty coffee with all of those weird directions (whipped, stirred slightly, with just a spritz of half-and-half).
So, what do you guys and gals think. Is fancy coffee dope or nop?
Well, since Halloween recently came and went (no kids came to our door this year ... oh well, more chocolate for me!), and since I just did an MJ post yesterday, I might as well do a post on possibly the most popular Halloween song of all-time - Thriller!
I remember this song being played nauseatingly frequently on 98-WCAU-Hot Hits when I was growing up. At the time, I didn't mind - I guess I liked repetition of pop songs at the time for some reason. Obviously, the Thriller album got lots of pub, and was wildly successful. Songs like Beat It, and Billy Jean spent weeks at the top of the charts.
But, the title cut probably was the most successful song on the album. Part of the thanks has to do with when the song was released - right near Halloween ... very fitting. But, the 13-minute video that was directed by John Landis, launched this song into the upper-echelon of pop-hits ever. The video, which was more like a short movie, raised the bar for music videos throughout the 80's and most of the 90's. Sadly, MTV decided music videos were no longer important, and phased them off of their channel (truly sad).
One other classic piece is the voice of Vincent Price in the song - from those who remember, Vincent Price was associated very much with the "horror" genre, and his voice fits in this song like a glove. I used to know his entire "script" by heart (which wasn't hard to do, considering how often it was played on the radio).
I probably should've done this post a couple of months ago, considering the "king of pop" died then ... but, oh well. Remember that Michael Jackson craze in the early 1980's? It seemed like a requirement that every US household had at least one copy of the Thriller album, and that all radio stations were required to play at least one MJ song every 1/2 hour. Yes, the world was his at one time ...
The big thing about Jackson was his red-zippered jacket. Every kid wanted this ... including me. Of course, my mom would never shell out the required funds for me to purchase this symbol of Americana ... come to think of it, I should thank her for this.
In fact, really, the only zippered stuff I had at the time were jackets, jeans, and my Kangaroos sneakers (maybe an 80's Corner post for another time). I don't remember if any of my friends had the zippered-jacket, and I'm wondering how expensive they were (plus, how much one could fetch for the jacket nowadays) ... oh, and I'm wondering if the zippers actually worked.
I've got two words for ya - Sar-casm. If you aren't hip with that, you probably should just click to the next blog. I blog about my daily life, current hot topics, stupid conversations, or just about anything that is on my mind.