Archive for November, 2011

Nerd Lunch Episode 13: Cartoon Crushes

Posted in cartoons, podcast, pop culture, TV shows with tags , , , , , , , on November 28, 2011 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast Unlucky episode 13. This will probably end up being “creepy” episode 13.  Our topic this week is to discuss our cartoon crushes. Yes we talk about cartoon people that we find attractive. And to up the creepiness factor, we categorize them into categories like “Dream Date”, “The One That Got Away”, “Bad Girl”, etc etc.  So not only do we actually have to think about our crushes and put a label on them, most of the cartoon crushes we talk about are supposed to be, well, a little younger than us.  So yeah, we toe the line of being awesome and getting a visit from Chris Hansen.

To Catch a Predator(Via mommysdirtylittlesecret.com)

In a move designed to make this episode seem less creepy and lecherous, we are joined by Kristin from the Geek Girls Network. You are going to love her, she’s hilarious.  And yes, we actually talk about half human half turtle babies.  We go there.  And Kristin is the one to bring it up.  I am so in love with this episode.

Anyway, download this episode from iTunes, Zune Marketplace or listen to it on Feedburner.

Again, this is a very visual topic (like the Nerd Decor episode) so I thought I’d give you guys a visual reference to some of my cartoon crushes. These are in no particular order, listen to the podcast to see what category in which I put these lovely ladies.


Supergirl (Kara-Zor El) – Introduced in Batman/Superman in 2003 by Jeph Loeb and drawn by Michael Turner.


Elise – From the SSX snowboard video game franchise.

Madelyn Pryor – AKA The Goblin Queen. Evil clone of Jean Grey. Created by Mr Sinister and featured in Marvel’s Inferno crossover event in 1989.


Invisible Woman – From the Marvel Ultimate universe.

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“That Vanilla Ice movie” turns 20 years old

Posted in movies, pop culture, reviews, Vanilla Ice with tags , , , , on November 23, 2011 by Paxton

Cool as Ice
(Via sts999999)

Vanilla Ice gifted us his movie, Cool as Ice, 20 years ago. It debuted in October 1991. And the world would never be the same.  I was going to mention this last month but I was kinda busy.

The movie is a rap-oriented remake of Rebel Without a Cause. The female lead was originally going to be Gwyneth Paltrow until her father, Bruce Dern, advised her against it (good call). Other pop culture celebrities in this movie include Bobbie Brown, the mega hottie in Warrant’s Cherry Pie video and Mr Keaton himself, Michael Gross.

If you are super curious and want to watch this awesome 80s train wreck, you can stream it on Netflix. Trust me, watch it. It’s so quotable and it’s amazing to watch Vanilla Ice beat up like 4 bullies in one fight.  You will not be disappointed.  This movie is terrible.  But awesomely so.

Check out the ground breaking trailer.

Nerd Lunch Episode 12: NerdHF

Posted in cartoons, Christmas, commercials, holiday, podcast, pop culture, Star Trek, TV, TV shows with tags , , , , , , on November 22, 2011 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

Episode 12 of the Nerd Lunch podcast has come on the air. This week it is only us, the three musketeers; CT, Jeeg and me without the safety net of a more interesting guest. Yes, you get to listen to just the three of us discuss owning our own television station. Imagine 24 hours of non-stop cartoons, game shows and Buffy/Angel reruns.  My personal TV station is called CavalcadeTV. Jeeg suggested the mascot below. I came up with the slogan.

Cavalcade TV

Not surprisingly all of us at some point decide to broadcast at least one Star Trek episode during our broadcast day. Most of the time, on multiple days. And yes, the Teen Wolf cartoon makes it into my lineup.

Plus, this episode, we introduce a new closer for the show.  Say goodbye to the closing mono-blog, this week we start the “Nerd To-Do List”.

Download this episode from iTunes or listen to it on Feedburner. And yes, we are still on the Zune Marketplace.

The Star Wars Holiday Special and its vintage merchandise

Posted in Boba Fett, cartoons, movies, nostalgia, pop culture, Star Wars, TV shows with tags , , , , , on November 17, 2011 by Paxton

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A few years ago I wrote two articles for the Archie McPhee website Monkey Goggles. It was a fun site with quirky humor/pop culture articles and I was glad to contribute.  My buddy Shawn over at Branded in the 80s also wrote a few articles for the site.  Unfortunately, it seems Monkey Goggles has stopped updating so I thought I’d archive the articles I wrote here before they are swallowed by that unforgiving beast, The Internet.

Anyway, the first article I wrote was about discontinued soda. I published it last week.  The second article I wrote was about The Star Wars Holiday Special.  The Holiday Special aired for the first time on November 17, 1978, which makes it 33 years old today.  I thought reprinting the below article on the TV special’s 33rd birthday was appropriate.  And, stay tuned, the Nerd Lunch podcast is going to devote an entire episode to The Holiday Special.  That should be coming up in December.  I can hardly wait to record it.  Until then, enjoy this article.

And I may be biased, but I have to say, this is one of my very favorite articles I’ve ever written.

SW Holiday Special

The Star Wars Holiday Special is legendary amongst Star Wars fans. Created to bridge the gap between the first Star Wars movie in 1977 and its 1980 sequel The Empire Strikes Back, The Holiday Special only aired once in America and immediately rocketed to infamy by being so notoriously bad that it swings back over to good, ninja-kicks it in the groin, leaves good in a crumpled heap, and moves all the way back into shockingly horrible. To sit and watch the two hours of boring insanity contained within the Holiday Special is like an endurance trial for hardcore Star Wars fans. The awkwardly-inserted musical numbers and endlessly boring live-action scenes combine to create a perfect storm of awfulness.

Not surprisingly, George Lucas hates The Holiday Special. And by “hates it,” I mean that Lucas once said that if he had the time, he would find every copy of it in existence and smash it with a sledgehammer.  Lucasfilm doesn’t officially comment or discuss the special, as if by pretending it doesn’t exist will cause all of us to forget it ever happened. But we will always remember, George.

Holiday Special Press KitThe Holiday Special turned 31 years old last November, so I decided to celebrate the anniversary by taking at look at some of the rarest of “Star Wars” collectibles — those based on the Holiday Special. There was a big marketing push before the special aired back in 1978, but after it died its fiery, televised death, Lucasfilm pretty much cut it loose and left it to die like a gutted Tauntaun. As a result of this abandonment, the spectrum of Holiday Special collectibles is very small. Let’s take a look at some of the items one would look for if they wanted to collect merchandise pertaining to one of the most reviled television specials in history.

Like most films, the Holiday Special was preceded by a press kit (left). It’s a package of information that was sent out to newspapers and television stations to promote the airing of the upcoming special. The official Star Wars Holiday Special press kit contained a booklet, several black and white stills, production information and a mini-poster, all contained in a silver folder. Since press kits are meant for media only, complete sets of these can be very hard to find and only a few complete copies are known to exist.

Starlog 1979If you can actually sit through the Holiday Special and not doze off or throw your 12″ Boba Fett through the TV in utter rage, you’ll be treated to an appearance by Jefferson Starship for no other reason than “why the hell not?” The song the band performs, Light the Sky on Fire, was released as a 45″ single and the record sleeve mentions the song’s appearance on The Star Wars Holiday Special as if that somehow gives the even-then aging rockers street cred. The B-side? A song called Hyperdrive that wasn’t used in the special but probably could have been had the producers hated their audience just a little bit more. Diahann Carroll also performed in the Holiday Special, but smartly decided not to ever mention her connection to the show.

The January 1979 issue of Starlog (right) actually featured the Holiday Special on its cover, and inexplicably chose to use a picture of Bea Arthur and a bunch of cantina aliens on the cover instead of Han or Chewie or Luke or, God forbid, Chewie’s family. I mean, you are doing a cover story on the first new Star Wars in over a year and a half and you choose Bea Arthur? It’s like going with a story on a new “Godfather” movie and using Moe Green on the cover. Was Starlog trying to jinx everything? From now on, Starlog, I lay the blame for this entire Holiday Special fiasco at your doorstep.

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Nerd Lunch Episode 11: A Klingon Christmas Carol

Posted in Christmas, holiday, movies, podcast, pop culture, Star Trek with tags , , , , , on November 15, 2011 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

Episode 11 of the Nerd Lunch podcast has entered the Hall of Heroes. This week we are joined by Jen Usellis Mackay, a cast member of the Klingon Christmas Carol theater production currently running in Chicago. It’s essentially a reworking of Dickens’ classic but making it more Klingon-y (and AWESOME). Oh yeah, it’s also spoken entirely in Klingon.


(Via startrekpapercraft.blogspot.com)

We spend the first part of the podcast talking with Jen about performing the show entirely in Klingon. We learn a bit about the preparations for learning the language and she gives us a little lesson. We then talk about all our favorite Klingon things like characters, weapons, Star Trek episodes, etc. It’s a Klingon good time. So check it out.

Download it from iTunes or listen to it on Feedburner.

And we also finally made it onto the Zune Marketplace (Glory to Kahless!).

Fizzy Failures: 12 Discontinued sodas

Posted in Coca Cola, Mountain Dew, New Coke, OK Soda, Pepsi, pop culture, soda with tags , , , , , , on November 10, 2011 by Paxton

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A few years ago I wrote two articles for the Archie McPhee website Monkey Goggles. They also republished two other articles I wrote here (Glorious Glass and Origins of Our Favorite Toys).  It was a fun little site with quirky humor/pop culture articles and I was glad to contribute.  My buddy Shawn over at Branded in the 80s also wrote a few articles for the site.

Anyway, it seems that the Monkey Goggles website has stopped updating.  There haven’t been any new articles for the last year or so (since editor Geoff Carter left).  So, like Shawn, I decided to archive my articles here before they are swallowed by the Internet.  Today, you are looking at the first all-new article I wrote for the site.  It’s about failed soda.

The Cola Wars of the ’80s and ’90s really brought about a lot of competitive creativity between Pepsi and Coke (and to a lesser degree, 7-Up). They threw whatever soda flavor they could conceive of against the wall to see what would stick. Some worked (Cherry Coke, Mountain Dew Code Red), and some blew up in their faces like a novelty cigar (New Coke, Crystal Pepsi).

Instead of marveling at the thrills of victory, let’s wallow in the agony of their failures. Here’s a list of some of the most spectacular soda failures from the long history of the Cola Wars.

New Coke

New Coke – No list like this one is complete without mentioning the Godfather of all soda failures. Released in 1985, New Coke caused the collective soda-drinking world to lose its damn mind. Coke drinkers actually tried to levy a class action lawsuit against Coke for releasing the new formula. (Seriously.)

It was a fiasco. Coke was forced to bring back Coke Classic not three months after releasing New Coke. After the return of Classic Coke, New Coke was re-branded Coke II and then died a slow death in 1992. The “Classic” moniker still exists on the can to this day. (Read a more complete history of New Coke here).

Crystal Pepsi

Crystal Pepsi – Apparently Pepsi wanted in on all the hate mail and lawsuits Coke got for New Coke. So they decided that they too would try something new. In 1992, Crystal Pepsi was released with great fanfare, including a high-profile commercial during that year’s Super Bowl.

Unfortunately, Crystal Pepsi failed to live up to expectations. A clear cola that didn’t have a lemon-lime taste frightened and confused the soda-drinking public. It became more a novelty than a soda to be taken seriously. Many people don’t remember, though, that for its first year Crystal Pepsi sold well enough to grab an 11% market share (and caused Coke to release the next item on this list). After that banner year, however, the bottom dropped out and Crystal Pepsi’s sales plummeted.

As a last ditch effort, Pepsi reformulated Crystal Pepsi with a lemon-lime flavor and re-branded it as Crystal by Pepsi. Too little, too late.

TaB Clear
TaB Clear – Coke released this clear soda in 1992 after the strong first year sales of Crystal Pepsi. After the clear soda crash that same year, it was quickly discontinued.

OK Soda
OK Soda – In 1992, Coke decided to try something new and released this less carbonated, more fruity soda with anunconventional marketing campaign. Fliers, soda “manifestos” and “underground” phone numbers with voicemail were used to target the youth market. This tactic was definitely different, but it backfired as the targeted audience realized it was being marketed what executives at Coke believed to be an “edgy” soft drink. After poor sales, OK Soda was discontinued in 1993.

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Nerd Lunch Episode 10: By the Power of Grayskull…

Posted in nostalgia, podcast, pop culture, TV shows with tags , , , , on November 8, 2011 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

Episode 10 of the Nerd Lunch podcast is live, my friends. This week we not only celebrate our foray into double digits, we welcome our first returning guest. Shawn Robare from Branded in the 80s joins us again to wax nostalgic. And what are we waxing nostalgic about? This week we are talking about vintage He-Man toys.

We talk about our favorite figures, what we thought were some of the worst figures, the figures we owned and the figures we wish we had owned.  We talk about the effectiveness of “battle damaged” armor, the inexplicable origins of Zodac and learn one of us won a break dancing contest at a Showbiz Pizza (it ties in, sort of).  Hope you are ready for an 80s good time.

Download it from iTunes or listen to it on Feedburner.