Friday, March 16, 2018

Munch Madness

Bracket time!  Little Debbie has released a March Madness style bracket of their delicious snack cakes and the voting is now live on their Twitter account.  Here's how it worked out for me:

You can get a blank set of brackets HERE.  Go Peanut Clusters!!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Got Time For a Quik Story?


 Some team-ups are inevitable.   They just seem like a perfectly natural pairing that the universe itself could not slow down the natural synergy between a like minded pair.  But some team-ups...are a little more head scratchingly arbitrary.  They may not seem like a natural fit and yet great things are accomplished.  This brings us to the 1987 comic book "Superman Meets the Quik Bunny"!

The story begins with a quick tease of Superman running afoul of a member of the Flash's rogue's gallery.  The Weather Wizard is using his magic weather wand to make things go straight up bonkers in Metropolis.

Meanwhile, we get a "quik" introduction to the members of the "Quik Qlub" as they finish building their tree house while the Quik Bunny supervises.

Of course they celebrate with a round of chocolate milks and in the process we get a good look inside the tree house they built.  It seems to have a surprising amount of sophisticated computer equipment.  But before we can wonder how or why, we get a quik expedited introduction of each of the Qlub members and their specialties:

Seems like some or all of this information might become relevant at some point.  You may notice in the back of that panel that Superman is on the news on their high tech homemade tree house entertainment system.

Well, the gang sees the trouble going on in Metropolis and decided that four kids and a chocolate craving rabbit were exactly what the situation needed.  So they unleashed the first of many of the secrets they built into their tree house:

Yes, the tree house these kids just built is also a helicopter.  It's almost enough to make you forget about the talking bunny...and possibly Superman.  But the Man of Steel, the Quik Bunny and the Quik Qlub kids finally all converge in Metropolis in time for the kids to assume they saved Superman and for Superman to tell them that they didn't.

One of the aspects of the comic is puzzles and brain teasers that pop up every couple of pages.  They're a part of the story and are meant for the reader as well as the Qlub kids to solve.  The answers are typically the location for where the Weather Wizard has gone.  That's why one of the kids is so cocky to Supes in the last panel.

Each puzzle plays into one of the aforementioned strengths/interests of the club members so even if the reader isn't able (or willing) to decipher the clues, the Chocolate Milk Brigade will take care of it.  And that's how they found out the Weather Wizard next target was...

This comic is surprisingly long with multiple altercations in multiple locations.  To save time let's just say they face both puzzles and the Weather Wizard in Washington D.C. and at the pyramids of Egypt before having a final confrontation at the Great Wall of China.  (Also the Qlub House turned into a blimp and boat and all kinds of other stuff.)

In addition to being able to change into various vehicles and containing state of the art computer equipment, the Quik Qlub tree house also has the ability to manufacture a facsimile of the Quik Bunny to use as a decoy to trick weather controlling villains.

And it's just that easy.  After the clean up and dropping off the Weather Wizard at the local loony bin, the only thing left to do is enjoy some of that sweet, sweet Nestle Quik flavored chocolate milk.


Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Roll Call

In the old days Charmin had good ol' Mr. Whipple starring in their commercials.  The serial squeezer was eventually retired and years later Charmin started using (unnamed?) cartoon bears to sell their squeezably soft product.

And it's the "Wiping Bear Family" who are offering loyal Charmin customers a chance to hold the extra large toilet papers rolls steadily in place with a free bathroom accessory that you didn't even realize you needed:

So, of course, I had to immediately have one. The roll extender was available (and still is!) for free on their website.  Now normally, when I fill out a form like this online in order to get some free sample or other goodie, I immediately try to forget about it so the long wait isn't so soul crushing and I eventually forget all about it.  That way if and when I finally get my goodie it's a complete surprise.  But the big surprise in this situation is how quickly my roll extender arrived.

It only took a couple of days to get this beauty and, believe me, I was WAY too excited when it arrived.  Luckily, Charmin had this type of reaction in mind and included installation instructions that would make Ikea envious:

Easy enough, even for a non-handy man.  So now my workshop bathroom has an added toilet paper roll capacity.  But so far I've only been able to try out the extender with a normal sized roll:

But this is just the start.  I plan to put it to the test with the biggest, "sqeezabliest" roll of toilet paper that mankind has invented.  I haven't found it yet but it's good to have goals...

Saturday, February 17, 2018


If you're reading this then, odds are, you've probably shopped at Walmart at least once.  Opinions vary on the mega-chain from brand loyalty for its one-stop shopping to hatred for its competition-crushing ubiquitous nature.  Your mileage may vary depending on how often you need to buy motor oil, pet food and milk at the same time, but there's no denying the company's impact on the country.

The man behind the machine was Sam Walton.  He founded his first store in 1962 and with his great success came the tributes.  If you know where to look you can find Wal-Monuments on your next road trip.

In his hometown of Kingfisher, OK, they wave the Walton flag hard.  This sign announces the town's status as his birthplace as soon as you arrive.  Not too far from there is the town's Walmart (every town's gotta have one, right?).  And there you'll find the real tribute:

Sam's eight foot tall disembodied torso and his faithful dog (and dog food namesake) "Ol' Roy" were erected for the grand opening of the town's store in 2007 and were sculpted by a local artist.  Sam's story may have started here but to see the monuments to his professional accomplishments you need to head one state over.

The founding of Walmart got its own Topp's collectible trading card (above) and the refurbished Walton's Five and Dime (his first store) can be visited on the town square in downtown Bentonville, Arkansas as a part of the Walmart Museum.

The museum is a shrine to the origins of the retail giant and houses store memorabilia like bags, buttons, aprons, early branded merchandise and other pieces of ephemera.  But most of the exhibits are dedicated to the life of Walton and they collect his personal belongings. 

It's an odd memorial for someone who lived so recently.  You might expect too see a life size diorama of an Egyptian tomb or a neanderthal's cave at a natural history museum but this place goes so far as to recreate Walton's office and display it behind glass:

On one hand, I'm glad they resisted the urge to put a mannequin "Sam" in the chair.  But on the other hand, I'm disappointing they didn't go to the expense of building an animatronic "Sam" to push papers around on his desk and occasionally look up to tell his tale to visitors. 

I sometimes wonder what it would look like if my work area was one day put on display for posterity.  Would historians know which order to pile the scraps of paper I no longer need on my desk?  Would they line up my Oscar Mayer Wiener Whistles just right?  I guess history will decide.

The other big piece on display of Sam's is his old 1979 Ford F150:

Apparently he liked to take long drives with the dogs on hunting trips (his Texas hunting license is also on display at the museum) in the truck.  They say that if you look closely at the steering wheel you can see Ol' Roy's teeth marks. 

It's an exhaustive remembrance of a man who made it slightly cheaper and easier for many people to buy tube socks and, like it or not, a big piece of Americana.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Bowl Game

It's no secret that the folks at Cap'n Crunch HQ need very little reason to release a new flavor or a new themed box.  Just about every holiday gets one these days but that doesn't seem to be enough for the ambitious sailors in the Cap'n's fleet.

We're in the home stretch of football season and the Super Bowl is right around the corner so it seems like the best time to take a good look at a box of Cap'n Crunch's Touchdown Crunch!

And there's a lot going on with the box.  The main attraction here isn't seeing the Cap'n in all his quarterback glory.  And it's not seeing the Crunchberries slightly smooshed in order to look like footballs.  No, the real touchdown here is being scored on the back of the box:

We got the band back together!  There's a lot to unpack here.  The long neglected supporting cast of the Cap'n Crunch extended universe has a bit of a grid iron reunion for the Limited Edition box.  This is a great opportunity to enlighten any whippersnappers in your home about the Capn's long list of friends and foes.  Let's see who shows up:

Jean LaFoote

The so-called "barefoot pirate" bedeviled the crew of the S.S. Guppy for years in various commercial adventures.  Like so many breakfast antagonists before him, he just wanted to get his hands on a bowl of that sweet breakfast treat.

Crunchberry Beast

The official mascot of Cap'n Crunch Crunch Berries, the Crunchberry Beast was discovered on a remote, exotic island.  Despite the rumors you may have heard, C.B. doesn't poop crunchberries, he eats them.

Magnolia Bulkhead

Another antagonist, this one is as obsessed with Cap'n Crunch the man as she is with Cap'n Crunch the cereal.  I don't think she's ever gotten her hands on either.

Henry S. Hippo

I never tasted "Punch Crunch" but I assume they tasted like...Fruit Punch, I guess.  Doesn't really sound that appealing to me.  I guess that's why it's not around anymore.  Anyway, this guy was the mascot for it.

One of the Soggies

Now these guys were the real deal.  Back in my prime cereal eating days, the Soggies were the ultimate enemies of a cereal that prides itself on its crunchiness.  There were several of them and I think they had names but since I don't remember them, I'll call this guy "the one with the hat."


This little guy was a part of a Cap'n Crunch video game from a few years back.  He may be the most obscure inclusion in this whole block party mess. 

"And the Rest"

So here we have Smedley, the mascot for Peanut Butter Crunch.  I always though he was the most underrated crew member since he's the only other one with a Captain's hat.  Next is Dave, one of the crew members on the Guppy who is clearly a Dallas Cowboys fan.  And lastly is the loyal first mate, Seadog.

All in all, not a bad turnout.  And, yes, I know Carlyle and some rando pirates are also in the stands.  And maybe that dolphin representing the Miami Dolphins had a cameo in one of the commercials too.  It's ok to leave a little on the table...just not in the bowl.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Raisin Funds

Nothing beats eBay for finding product mascot collectibles.  It's definitely possible to get a good deal on an item featuring your favorite character but you're just as likely to find something you're looking for at a price that's just a little out of your reach.  Occasionally you'll find something that you didn't even know was valuable.  Apparently there's a big following for the Sun-Made Raisin Girl:

Like most product mascots, she's gone through some changes over the years.  It's not uncommon for mascots to be updated for the times, even when they're meant to have an "old school" vibe.  You can see some of the subtle changes over there years when you compare the different eras:

To me, it looks like there's been more changes to the font than the design of the Girl, but what do I know?  And speaking of things that escape me, I stumbled across an opportunity for hardcore collectors with a few extra bucks in their pocket to score what must be their "Holy Grail":

If you've got an extra $700,000.00 laying around, you can snag a 2" by 1.25" cardboard box from the 50s.  This eBay auction seems to have gotten some attention since it has 22 watchers and 5 "inquiries."  I don't know what exactly an eBay "inquiry" is but I imagine that if you're going to spend that kind of cash you might want to get some details on the box you're buying. 

And it's good that people are inquiring because the seller has some very specific ideas on who should be bidding.  He even provides a convenient list in the auction description with suggestions for who he has in mind:

Now that's an eclectic group of (hopefully) raisin enthusiasts.  Hopefully one of them will get wind of this auction and make this seller's dream come true.  Happy bidding folks!  Enjoy nature's candy!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

World's Greatest Chip Aisle

Well the title says it all doesn't it? I stumbled across what may very well be the world's greatest chip aisle. Not because it is stocked with your salty favorites but because it is comprised of some of the most head-scratching sandwich sides since the first tater slice hit hot oil.

The location? Big Lots.

If you are not familiar with BL, it's a close-out store where unpopular, unsold product lines go to die. I've had some great finds there in the past and it consistently maintains its title as my favorite store/grocery museum. On this particular trip it was the chip aisle that really attracted my attention with its unusually high weirdness quotient.

This little beauty caught my eye first:

1. It was close to Halloween (at the time) and these chips have a "monster" theme.
2. They are in ghost shapes that resemble the Pac-Man ghosts
3. They are ketchup flavored

If that's not a triple threat then I don't know what is.

With my interest piqued I started exploring this aisle of misfit chips and came across some interesting finds. I soon noticed that the "geography" theme was prevalent in the chip world:

Representing the U.S. is "Sweet Hawaiian Onion" "Rocky Mountain Dill Pickle" and New York Deli Kettle Cooked" potato chips. Not to be outdone, Europe is also represented in a somewhat confusing way:

Snyder of Berlin's British Style potato chips represent the hodge-podge, mish-mashed understanding that most American high school students have of Europe (quick hint: one of these places loves to talk about World War II and the other one does not).

Now let's move back to the Western Hemisphere and head south of the border:

I got the distinct impression that the Curly bags were not filled with peanuts but rather some weird peanut/chip hybrid with "Mexican Style" being the most popular flavor. They go good with Happy Joe's Taco Chips. A quick google search informed my that "Happy Joe's" is a pizza chain that is famous for putting taco chips on their pizza...taco chips that you can now enjoy at home. But the pizza/chip connection didn't end there:

On the left are Pepperoni Pizza flavored potato chips from Shearer's, the same company that gave us the Hot Dog flavored potato chips that I mentioned awhile back. On the right flavored sticks...or something...

And speaking of things that I've mentioned before:

Meat flavored chips are always worth repeating. Which brings us to the ultimate chip that was a long time coming:

You like chips. You like beer. Obviously you'd like chips made out of beer.

So the next time I tell you I've discovered the World's Greatest [Fill-in-the-Blank] I expect a lot more reverence and a lot less eye-rolling.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Burn Notice


You know not to play with matches, right?  If you do, it's probably, in part, because of Smokey the Bear.  The friendly, fuzzy fire prevention advocate has been watching over the American forests for decades.  But how did it all start for our hairy hero?  Like many great characters, his origin has been told in comic book format:

The setting was Lincoln National Forest in New Mexico in 1950.  For a story like this it's best to have an omniscient narrator...possibly an animal...and the comic delivers in the form of our storytelling hawk (or possibly some other kind of bird):

The comic goes into detail about the efforts of firefighters and soldiers who fought the great blaze of the Capitan Gap Fire which destroyed 17,000 acres of forest.  Once the inferno was under control a lone survivor was found:

Yep, the once and future Smokey survived the fire and was rescued by the friendly fire fighters but he was still burned and need medical help.  And once he was brought to the ranger station he began the healing process.

He was originally named "Hotfoot Teddy" but the U.S. Forest service already had a "Smokey the Bear" awareness campaign and, even back then, synergy was synergy and his name was quickly changed.  Stardom followed soon after...

And the rest...well, you know.  Smokey has appeared in pretty much any medium you can think of and is still going strong today.  As far as mascots go, he's changed very little and his message has remained consistent...

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Out of the Loop

Let's face it, we've probably all been eating our Froot Loops pretty much the same way from the get go.  Outside of the "milk and bowl" maneuver, there's the dry method and a handful of custom creations but there's typically nothing new under the sun...until Toucan Sam went to Texas.

The State Fair of Texas is known as the "Deep Fried Food Capital of the World" and every year vendors compete to come up with the most creative deep fried dish to amaze and sustain fair visitors.  Deep Fried Twinkies and Deep Fried Snickers may have started the trend years ago but now they're old news.  This year's top contender was Deep Fried Froot Loops...and I got 'em!

Here's what they look like.  The round loops of fruity goodness not only garnish the tasty treat, they also make up the inner filling.  Inside the crisp shell is a "goo" (for lack of a better term) that has the essence of Froot Loops.  Somehow the cereal was mashed up or liquefied or goo-ified but it definitely tastes like the real deal.

Like many deep fried treats, the creators feel it necessary to dump a ton of powdered sugar on top of it.  And that's not necessarily a bad thing but if I breathe in right before a bite, I tend to get a lung full of sugar...which is an unusual sensation. 

Lastly, there's also a type of icing or topping to round out the experience.  I wasn't sure but I think it was marshmallow flavor.  I'm also not even sure that marshmallow is a is, right?  So as far as I'm concerned, we now have a brand new way to enjoy our favorite fruity breakfast treat.  If you try them, tell 'em Sam sent ya.