Pop Cult goes legit

So, last week VH1 aired a special exploring television's portrayals of minorities. Only, it was done in the fashion of their pop culture commentary shows like "I Love the (insert decade)" or "The Best Week Ever" or "TV's Secret Rules". Basically, the usual array of second and third tier celebrities commenting irreverently with visual aids to show what they are talking about. Only, it was also done very seriously. Improbably enough, it worked.

In addition to the usual celebs, VH1 tossed in some more academic/intellectual voices. Specifically, though, people who would take well to the loose style of the VH1 pop culture programming. They explored a host of stereotypes and tracked their development. They also discussed pretty much every racial minority. Certainly, a lot of it focused on blacks, but there was a good deal of time spent on latino portrayals as well Asians and even native Americans. A lot of it was framed with gimmicks, but never in a way which cheapened the discussion. So when they played "What Race Am I?" it came off as challenging our expectations rather than some lame attempt to funny.

We saw discussions of white actors playing asians, a mention of how Star Trek shows have had a wildly disproportionate number of the few Asian regulars on TV shows, the effect of "white hero" style characters and how that evolved, and they even went into some of the crude racial stereotyping that used to be common in kids entertainment. Very interesting to see what we used to show our kids. They primarily focused on a Dick Tracy cartoon from the early 60's which featured two vicious ethnic stereotypes in the supporting cast in the form of Joe Jitsu and Go Go Gomez. Although both were good guys, the portrayals were so insanely abusive that it was really shocking. "Go Go Gomez" was largely a rip off of Speedy Gonzalez, as he was a lazy but incredibly fast Mexican. It was much worse, though then the questionable taste of Speedy. Jitsu looked like something out of a World War II era political propaganda cartoon. Also discussed was the stereotypes seen in professional wrestling and how that has developed over the years, a fertile subject indeed.

All together, I felt the special really worked. It was not an academic paper or anything, but it was still serious while being accessible. Since VH1's decent into pop culture hell is pretty much unstopable at this point, its good to know they'll do a better job with the topic than the unwatchable E! network.


[adult swimming]

I've really been on a Cartoon Network kick lately. Its become the only network I reliably watch. Its weird, too, because most of their programming doesn't interest me at all. All the kiddie toons in the day are fine, but ultimately don't interest me. Most of their anime bores me at best. Seriously, does anyone understand Dragonball Z? That show just weirds me out, and this is from someone who actually has a perverse appreciate for Pokemon.

But what CN has that I like, I like a lot. Family Guy and Futurama continue to incredibly funny and eminantly watchable. Cowboy Bebop is back on the schedule, which is great. I finally watched the Bebop movie (which I've owned for months) and am continually impressed with the show. Its so unlike most Anime. Its all very naturalistic. It imagines a world not that dissimiliar to our own, and the characters are all very human. All trying to put on an image that they can never quite maintain. Never mind the stylish directing. And the Sunday night line-up is just pure gold. Harvey Birdman is back and airing their episodes from the begining. Seriously, watch it. Sundays at 11:30 from not through June. I mean it. I'm also finally getting to enjoy "Home Movies", which has new episodes airing at 11pm on Sundays. And dependanble goodness from the Aqua Teens, Space Ghost, etc. has made the Sunday [adult swim] block a favorite part of my TV week and something I genuinely look forward too, even when I know what's on.

I guess part of that is the brilliant bumps they show in commercial breaks. Always funny. It may not be as fresh as it first was, when out of no where they had these conversational and irreverantly honest pages of text in the breaks, but it's holding up. They're also trying new things with the same sensibility. For instance, all this week, they've been showing elaborately produced "Happy Hollidays" ads complete with amusingly cliche images of Christmas/Haunukah/Kwanzaa celebrations. You know the kind of thing you see for a couple seconds on your local station for a Happy _____ spot. Except they went way overboard with this doubtlessly liscensed video and made it a joke in and of itself. But the best thing?

It's late February. And no, its not part of one of those "Christmas in ______" network events. Who does those in late February, anyway? No, they just started running out nowhere with no explanation whatsoever. I just love that.


Take that causality!

[adult swim] had one of the best episodes of [em]Futurama[/em] tonight: the Emmy Award winning "Roswell that Ends Well". For the uninitiated, [em]Futurama[/em] is an elaborate parody of the sci-fi genre. The premise being that a delivery boy gets himself chriogenically frozen and wakes up 1000 years into the future. They use the premise to do all sorts of sci-fi comedy, but the show also had a lot more heart than people gave it credit for. While it didn't have the family dynamic the protect it from its cynicism like The Simpsons, there is real honesty to the lead character Fry and his crush on the lead female character Leela. They pulled out some amazingly emotional, honest, but funny cartoons involving his unrequited love and his feelings of detachment from his old life. I'm really impressed at how they can so brilliantly capture some complex stuff and make it damn funny but touching at the same time. Once or twice, its down right sad. It takes a lot of guts to do a cartoon that has such a wide range of emotions, and I give them credit for that.

"Roswell that Ends Well" is not one of those emotional funny episodes, though. It's pure screwball comedy and just hits all its marks. I especially like that its a send-up of time-travel stories. Indeed, it specifically parodies the obligatory time-travel episodes of so many sci-fi shows. Lots of levels here. It acknowledges all the usual time-travel cliches on its way to completely destroying them. Naturally, Fry is admonished to avoid doing anything to affect the past in harsh tones. Naturally, he screws things up. How he screws up and the results, though, are pure comedic gold. Much it revolves around the obligatory meeting of a relative, his grandfather. Fry becomes insanely protective so as his grandfather doesn't die before he can have sex with his grandmother. Its all the usual slapstick stuff, too, until the grandfather says the funniest line ever on the show....

"You ever get the feeling you're just going with girls cuz you're supp'sed to?"

The best part is the reaction shot of Fry. Its this blank horror that is absolutely perfect for the scene. I just love that line. It manages to be sublte and blunt at the same time, the way it talks around the issue while still making the joke perfectly clear. Its also the funniest take on insuring your eventual birth in a time travel story. And the committment to the joke displayed with the few seconds of expressionless shock from Fry ties it all together.

Naturally, Fry does get his grandfather killed. He then proceeds to get it on with his grandmother when he rationalizes that they must not be his grandparents since he didn't disappear when his grand-dad died. Of course, this is faulty reasoning, so we end up with the most bizarre incest story even imagined that results in Fry being his own grandfather and earning the disgusted scorn from all of the other characters. After so completely screwing up the timeline, the rest also decide to just go for broke and forget about protecting the past. "Screw history" are the exact words. Its just such a funny way to wrap up the story. It obviously respects the sci-fi tradition in order to hit all these points, but its love is reflected in its unquenchable desire to pervert the traditions. It has all the little touches, too. The "explanation" for Roswell, Alien autoposy, even a little homage to the Hitchhiker's Guide (or Star Trek: TNG) with the robot getting buried in the past only to be recovered when everyone else ends up back in the future. Just pure concentrated funny. Its a real shame Futurama ended after only 4 seasons.


The Whole Point of Starting this Post

I'm really posting up a storm tonight, aren't I? Well, I was about to launch into three more posts, but I won't. I'll deal with them tomorrow. Or, um, latter today. But I wanted to remind myself of what I want to write about, as well as give you all a preview...

VH1 adapted their irreverent pop culture commentary format to a serious issue (portrayals of minorities on tv) and it actually worked.

New England has this cool local television food critic, The Phantom Gourmet and I was curious if other areas of the country had something similiar.

Harvey Birdman is back on [adult swim]. If you haven't seen it, start watching. Its hilarious.

And I think there was something else, but I guess I forgot it between starting this post and finishing it. Which was the whole point of starting this post. Damn it.

Ah, and now Bebop is running its series finale which dealt with this side story I always hated and which never made sense in the context of the show and which they thankfully hardly ever deal with. Damn it.

EDIT: Oh, now I remember the something else...

I'm warming up to the Anime-inspired Teen Titans on Cartoon Network. Wish I wasn't so quick to dismiss it in its first season.

Oh, and I was a little too hard on Cowboy Bebop's credits theme, but its still so much worse than all of the other great music on the show that it does stand out.

anime music sucks

What's up with the music in some Anime? Is it just because I don't like Anime, because I think the title songs of some of these shows just sucks so hard its unbelievable. Big O is on [adult swim] right now and reminding me what crap their title song and credits songs are. Even Cowboy Bebop, which has the closest music around with all this high energy fusion jazz, still has a horrific credits song that's this completely out of character ballad. I guess its Japanesse sensibility or something, but it really throws me.

Oh, well.

Those Weird Quiznos Commercials

Those weird Quiznos commercials have been troubling me for a while. You know, the ones with those weird singing creatures. When they first started airing, I tried to find out more about them. It looked very Flash animated and also reminded me of those bizarre singing kitten bumps that VH1 had been running a while back. But, alas, I couldn't find anything. So today, upon seeing the Quiznos ad again, I was reminded about how perplexing it was and went to post here a call for answers. Surely, someone knew where this came from. Surely, this was not the independant creation of an ad company.

Indeed, it wasn't. I did a quick web search and found another blog discussing the commercial with comments that actually knew the background. Those creatures are caled "Spongmonkeys". Indeed, the Quiznos ad is a rewrite of a prior animation, The Moon Song over at Rathergood.com.

Okay, so they were from somewhere. But I'm still not sure why Quiznos saw fit to make a commercial from them. Or VH1. I guess weirdness for weirnesses sake, so more power to them. The Travelocity Troll worked for me, maybe the Quiznos Spongmonkey will work for someone else. Doesn't matter if it works for me because there are no Quiznos around here anyway.


I conquer Salmon

Been sick since Thursday night so haven't been able to post much. Some damn cold. Literally came down with it as I sat down to dinner Thurday. I've been trying to teach myself to cook Salmon Mignon (boneless Salmon steak) with limited success. I thought I finally had it figured out, and though I got a really nice crust to the Salmon, inside was completely rare. I've actually developed a taste for rare Salmon because I keep screwing it up, but I still prefer it Medium. But every recipe I find just doesn't cook it enough. I've tried different times, marinades, sauces, basting, what have you. It just hasn't worked. No cooking website was of any help on teaching what might not have been going right, either.

So, I decided to try a different tactic. Instead of looking for advice on cooking salmon steaks, how about just plain steaks. So simple, I'm embarassed I didn't think of it sooner. They had a ton of great suggestions and explanations for how it all works. I knew heat was a priority, so I pumped it up when heating my grill pan. Had it really smoking, so my eyes hurt, but it seemed to work. Also it was suggested to finish it in the oven, so I gave that a try. Seemed to do the trick. Also worked a little Lime marinade to boot, since I've been on a real lime kick lately. Got it medium rare without quite the crust I was hoping for, but still pretty damn good. Finally got Swordfish right a couple weeks ago, so I'm feel pretty good about myself. hehe.

Yay me! I might just learn how to cook, yet.


hehe. Puppets.

I've been getting into Angel this season as a result of my now ex being into the show. I've actually been rather enjoying it, so I was disappointed to learn its being canceled after this season. Sure, its got its off days, but its generally one of the smarter shows on TV. It also employs the creator of the hilarious superhero spoof, The Tick, Ben Edlund. I love his subversive take on the often self-important genre of the supernatural. Suffice to say, he was firing on all cylanders for Wednesday's episode.

The show's hero, good-guy vampire Angel, marches off to fight an evil kid's show. It doesn't go so well, so he gets turned into a puppet. I know, silly concept. But, they basically let the whole episode be about what its like to be a puppet. They tweaked the character to make him more puppetish in his actions, which was a great touch. They also went all out on the puppets. All of them looked completely professional and convincing. Usually a show like this would just half-ass it, but they looked like something out of Nickelodeon.

I'm a total sucker for puppets gone bad. I loved Greg the Bunny on FOX a couple years back. It just cracks me up. Puppets are the paragon of innocence, so seeing them act in ways outside the norms of kids show is a real killer. I love it when the Muppets do "adult" material. Puppets for adults are a desperately underused comedic device. So, basically, this episode of Angel was going to work for me. Its just all the little commentaries on puppet behaviors. Just so brilliant and insightful and well appreciated by me. It reminds me of when you were a kid and you thought puppets were real. But if they were real, they wouldn't be innocent kid's show creations, would they? The questions asked in that just really amuse me. Just wanted to say that. Good night.

Diet Season is over. Hooray!

I complained in January about how New Year's always heralds in the Diet programming that consumes the Food Network for the better part of the month. I think the only show uneffected is actually Marc Summers' Unwrapped which is too completely about "fun" food for it really to let go on the diet nonsense. I think, though, even it had a bit of diet junk during the month. The rest of the line-up, including my beloved Good Eats, was completely overwhelmed. Happens every year. But, it always ends, and indeed, gives way to a host of Chocolate related programming for Valentine's Day. Which is good. And kind of funny.


FOX hates us

And no, not for the normal vast right-wing conspiracy reasons. FOX, the most unoriginal network on television, has decided to a break from crappy realty shows and are developing a remake. Why go through the effort of ripping off old ideas when you can just DO old ideas. And what did they come up with?

Mr. Ed. The talking horse.

Okay, fine. Its FOX. They do this kind of thing. Its not even that high on the list of their crimes against the American public. (The premature cancelation of Futurama, Family Guy, Greg the Bunny, Andy Ricter Controls the Universe, etc. would certainly beat it hands down) But, that wasn't enough for Fox. Oh, no.

They are updating the show for an urban sensibility.

A show about a talking horse. With urban sensibility. Voiced by George Jefferson himself, pepetual ad man Sherman Hemsley.

I checked, and its not April 1. Which was important, because this is literally what someone would come up with if they wanted to make a joke about the horrific crimes of network executives. But, I kinda suspect that's how FOX gets its ideas sometimes. This is the network that gave us "When Animals Attack", after all.

Swearing Like an Adult

It is so refreshing to see a musical artist who can swear like an adult. Most use profanity like 12 year olds, giggling to themselves every time they say some naughty word and trying to say as much as possible to show how bad they are. I have nothing against swearing, but its not something you do every couple of words. That's something kids do because they are so giddy about saying words they's not supposed to say. That's what makes Ben Folds such a great artist.

Folds uses swears very casually. They come up, not to show he can swear, but because that's how people talk. That's really the brilliance of his song-writing. The lyrics are meant to be profound, but that's what makes them profound. They are simple, honest, casual, and meaningful. Sometimes, the simplicity lends to intriguing reinterpretations. Sometimes, it offers a purity of message. Sometimes, it can even obscure the meaning. "Brick" is that kind of song. Its his break-through hit, probably the only one most people know of his. The meaning is obvious, yet unstated. By not directly confronting the issues discussed, he can get away with being direct about the emotions. Its the kind of song that when you find out what its about, it becomes very obvious, but you probably will need to be told before you can see it.

It just works. So, his swears are not simply to convey rage and resentment, as with some singers. They represent many emotions. From anger, like in "Song for the Dumped" where he sings:

So you wanted to take a break.
Slow it down some, and have some space.
Well, fuck you, too.

It not rage, really. More annoyance. Its actually become one of my favorite internal lines when I someone is demaning me without being direct about it. Its that, "too" that takes the line from mere bitterness to an inspired mock tirade.

Other times, he tosses them off to express bemusement, frivolity, and a whole host of emotions. Its not there to be intimidating, but to be natural. Because normal people sometimes swear when they are frustrated or amused or saddened. Its not in every song he writes, but he's not afraid to use them to capture the reality of the songs. I don't know of another contemporary artist who can express so much. Pain, love, unrequited love, lost love, resentment, emptiness, apathy, joy, and so much more.

And don't even get my started on how the piano is the most underated instrument in rock. All too often left to easy-listening, Folds reminds us how vital a rock instrument the piano is. He even does a cover of Elton John on his live album, which reminds us what the piano can do in Rock and Roll. Folds is the only artist I've really gotten into in a while, and if you haven't heard his stuff, I highly recommend it. "Whatever and Ever, Amen" with the Ben Folds Five is probably his best, and also most well known album. Borrow it from a friend and take a listen. Its great stuff.

So, what's with Red No. 3?

Oh, I figured I'd explain my blog title, since it is a little odd. My last blog title was very self-conscious and obvious as a result, so this one might seem a bit odd. Especially since my favorite color isn't red, its orange. So what's up with Red No. 3?

Well, originally, it was the name for a pop culture commentrary site I was going to do. Esentially, it was an uber-blog idea I had about a year and a half-ago. Its a shame I didn't finish it, because I had a really cool design and all the graphics put together, but I just got lazy with setting up webspace. Maybe I'll go back to eventually just because it looked so cool. The whole graphic look was designed around the graphics style of Boston's MBTA Subway system. I spent a lot of time researching their graphic design standards to get the look just right, and I was pretty proud of it. Wound up using it in a project for work, actually, so it didn't go to waste. Strictly speaking, I called it just Red 3 back then

I also wrote an explanation, which I publish for the first time here...

Red 3 is the food coloroing which may or may not cause cancer. I wanted a self-aware pop-culture kind of reference. Something which sounds cool and "inside", but obviously isn't. I went with "Red 3" over "Yellow 5" (the coloring in Mountain Dew) purely because I liked Red better and it was easier to design with. Generally speaking, I thought "Yellow 5" was a cooler reference, but since I was being conspiciously self-aware I figured the more pragmatic choice was appropriate. Very postmodern.


An Ode to Marc Summers

One of my favorite shows growing up was Nickelodeon's Double Dare, so it always warms my heart that Marc Summers is still on TV. As a little kid, he was that rare breed of cool adult. He's really just a good host. Its obviously what he was born to do. He's just got the touch.

A lot of kids show hosts, especially kids game shows like Double Dare, act like they are big kids. Not Marc. He let himself be an adult, but a fun adult. He wasn't acting goofy and dressing like a 12 year old like some people (I'm looking at you J. D. Roth) Heck, he almost always was wearing a tie and jacket. But he looked like he was genuinely having fun. He didn't make the show seem canned and stale, but gave it a spontianity because he genuinely seem amused with what was going on. For those who weren't watching Nickelodeon in the late 80's, what went on was all manner of slime, goo, and food play. The culmination of the show as the "Messiest Minute on TV", which involved the kid contestants running through a slime filled opsticle course. Which makes it all more amazing that Marc suffers from OCD. Literally, this had to be the worst job for someone with OCD, but he did great. And I've always got a special place in my TV heart for Marc Summers.

Sure, he's a little cheesy and over enthusiastic hosting the Food Network's Unwrapped series, but he makes it work. He's just got the natural charm to win us over. Not to mention its a cool idea for a show. The quick hits giving the behind the scenes scoop on favorite foods is just right. The stories are never too long for the premise to wear thin, but just enough to leave you satisfied. And with Marc Summers along for the ride, what's not to like?


Welcome People

Welcome to Red No. 3, my new Pop Culture blog. I'll also be migrating pop cult type posts from my old blog, which is why this Welcome post may not be the first post.



A Republican State Senator from Kansas has come out against the 19th Ammendment. You know, the one that granted women the right to vote. When invited to an event in celebration of the 19th Ammendment, they declined saying that they wouldn't like what the person would have to say. Meaning that they felt Women's Suffrage was "not necessarily" a good thing. In later interviews, they elaborated saying that "Men should take care of women" and that if they were taking care of women, then women wouldn't have the right to vote.

You may have noticed me playing the pronoun game. Because, naturally, the person coming out against a woman's right to vote is a woman.

Like I said. Huh?


stuff and stuff

I've been very busy at work and generally disinterested in posting. Sorry. Trying to get back in the habit, though, so here I am.

Gay Marriage is back in the news in a big way. Massachusetts has been debating it for the last couple of days with no real resolution in any direction. The State Legislature is debating a Constitutional Ammendment in response to the Supreme Court (of MA) declaring Gay Marriage a constitutional requirement in the Commonwealth. So far, they've rejected three attempts at wording it correctly. I kinda think they are just at an impasse, but the big wigs are confidant that they'll figure something out. Basically, it sets up where the group unwilling to back off gay marriage and the group unwilling to allow even civil unions makes up a majority, so the people trying to find a compramise (often a Constitutional establishment of Civil Union with full Marriage rights and responsibilities) can't get it to work. Everytime they get a few from one camp to cross over, they lose a few more they had. All very promising, I think. The process is so long in Mass anyway, that the earliest this will be voted on by the public is November of 2006. It also needs to get approved again by the legislature in one of the next two years, which would not be sure at all given how tight this is. The longer it takes the better it looks for the pro-gay marriage side. I really think the day the first gay marriage takes place and the world doesn't end will be a big victory. As it stands, the polls say that an anti-gay marriage ammendment would probably fail in Mass and things are going only in that direction.

Speaking of the world not ending when a gay couple gets married, San Francisco appears to be feeling very left out by all the attention on Massachusetts. San Fran's new mayor decided to engage in some civil disobediance and has ordered the city to start issuing marriage liscences to gay couples, and officials married a lesbian couple today. The women are 79 and 83 and have been together for over 50 years. And that's supposed to be a bad thing? Let George W. make an issue out of this. I dare him to try explaining why a pair of 80 year olds who've been together for half a century are some threat to Western Civilization. I dare him.

Speaking of W., the press have finally noticed that they are allowed to press him and they are going after the AWOL story with a vegence. Mostly fueled by Bush himself, whose attempts to diffuse the story have been so increasingly comical that they've managed to keep it alive. Not really at the expense of the whole lying about the War stuff, too, since he keeps managing to screw that up, too. First he goes on Meet the Press and makes a fool out of himself by dodging questions so obviously and artlessly that fellow conservatives were pissed at him. He also tried to pretend that people were attacking him to "deningrate the Guard", which really seems to have only reminded people that the Vietnam era National Guard was a form of draft dodging, while today they are being used as cannon fodder. And then he promissed he'd release all of his military records. Then he didn't. But he release pay stubs, but those were inconsistant with his previous stories and didn't really prove anything, anyway. And best case scenario, all they showed was Bush set out to do the bare minimum in order to get an Honorable Discharge. And by this time, people were starting to figure out something was fishy with his medical status. Bush refused to take a yearly physical which resulted in his flight status being revoked. His explanation that he needed to see his family physician and they were in Texas while he was in Alabama just wasn't working anymore. It all seems stunningly unsoldierly when you think about it for more than a second. But Bush responded to those by releasing records showing he was ontop of his medical status. Dental records. Cuz, that really addresses the issues. Not only was that bizarely non-responsive, they were also intended to prove he served in Alabama. Only trouble is that the Dental records were for after he left Alabama, which makes no sense whatsoever.

But some GOPers have responded to all this with "Bring it On". Seems they enjoy the idea of comparing Vietnam era service records with John Kerry. You know, the war hero who saved more than a few lives of those he served with AND who had moral courage to return to the US and protest the war. That's who they want to go up against, with a guy who used political connections to get into the National Guard, where he's often bragged about how much fun he had protecting the country from, um, Canadian air assaults, but he didn't even really serve in the guard after taking a spot that meant someone else got shipped off to Vietnam, and he let himself get disqualified from flying anyone so he couldn't protect us from those aerial threats from Mexico anyway, and then got himself out of it early so he could go to business school, all so he wouldn't have to actually fight in a war he supported from a man who would later boast about him being a "War President". Yep, that's a fight they want. And why, you ask? Are Rethugs living in some bizarro world? Nope, see, they got this picture, see, and it shows Jane Fonda at an anti-war rally and like three rows back, there is Kerry. He's out of focus, since its a picture of Jane Fonda and Kerry wasn't close to her to begin with. But that's their big scary weapon. Uh huh.

Failing that, they are prepared to accuse him of having sex with an intern. The sad thing is, I'm not even joking.


just some things

Sorry, I haven't posted since I announced my break-up. No, I'm not moping around heartbroken. Just didn't feel like writing anything else. Still debating the whole satelite blog thing. Besides, I've been posting a lot at political blogs so that's been taking up a lot of time. So, I'm just going to toss off a bunch of random shit today.

First off, Amazon.com freaking rules. I ordered a book (Box Office Poison) and a DVD (Friends: Season 6). Now, I'm raving about Amazon all over work. I ordered this on Monday, and got it today. That's just fantastic! Free shipping and everything. When I get free shipping from Barnes and Noble, I get what I pay for. Amazon goes the extra distance, though. BUT, I did have a problem. Because what should I discover when I open up the book? Stuck between two pages is a dead fly. A fucking dead fly smeared over the book. I tried to be understanding about it, but the more I thought about it, the less I understood it. I mean, ewwwwwwww! How does that even happen? I'm more understanding about finding a fly in a salad. At least that makes sense. Anyway...

So Janet showed her boobie. Yeah, that really destroyed civilization. It really worries me when I see the reaction some people had. My reaction? "Was that Janet Jackson's breast?" And that was it. But that gets a government investigation in a matter of hours. The Vice President's staff exposing a CIA operative's identity and the Justice Department drags its feet. Iraq intelligence takes a few days, and only so long as the investigation is set up in such a way that it can only punish the CIA. But this has all been said by better people than I.

Did you know there is a professional, major league Hockey team in Columbus? Well, of course YOU don't know, but I didn't either. Not that I'm a hockey fan, but I figured I watched enough Sportscenter to have an understanding of it on a basic level. I knew all the other teams, even some other new ones. But Columbus? Columbus, Ohio? A major league sports franchise? Columbus? See, this is why I don't like hockey.

Have I mentioned that I collect Muppets action figures? Oh. My. God. They just keep kicking so much ass it's not funny. (Oh, and I do know I'm swearing a lot. Just mixing it up, keeping it real, and all that jazz. *cough*) ANYWAY, they just released some previews of upcoming figures to their newsletter. They are so cool. I can't show you pictures, I'm afraid, since its an exclusive fan club newsletter deal for people who pay them money to get special figures, which I finally decided to do since they are supposed to come out with a special Jim Henson as a muppet figure sometime this year. Which kicks ass, but isn't what I'm really excited about. The figures so far have been awesome in detail and playability. They look great, dead-on accurate, but they are fun, too. I just love that I have a figure of the Muppet newsman, and Gonzo with Camilla, and Statler and Waldorf, even. The coolest thing have been their playsets, though. The Swedish Chef Kitchen set is just sick. Its got like 40 kitchen accessories that are all perfect and great on their own, but the kitchen itself is insane. Its just so much fun. I love collecting these toys because its just a great flashback to when I was a kid and so easily amused by a new toy. Anyway, a future playset is the real holy grail. They are doing the Muppet backstage. The thing is 2.5 floors and it looks perfect. Just like it was on the show. I already can't wait. Anyway, check out their site and some of what they've released. I can't recommend them enough. They are just a great company that really cares about their fans, too, which is always cool.

Like you cared about that. hehe.