Archive for November, 2009

Movie Chat


The Pogfather (1995/ Director- Francis Ford Coppola. Criterion Collection/$34.99)

This never seen failure has been given the usual red carpet treatment by the folks at Criterion.
It was 1994 and Coppola was having trouble making the movie “Jack” (1996). It was the heartfelt story of a child with an aging disease, played by Robin Williams. Coppola rightly thought that it was ridiculous and his enthusiasm waned. While on a break from the movie he noticed the Pog fad that was sweeping the nation (Pog was a brief childhood game craze that involved flipping round discs called “pogs”) and he got an idea. Coppola’s wanted to make a quick, cheap movie to clear his mind from “Jack” and perhaps go back to it with a clean slate. He was inspired by Hitchcock’s “Psycho” which was quickly made, inexpensive and a huge hit. Unfortunately he wanted to make a movie about Pogs.  To his thinking it was an “of the minute” movie and could be made quickly enough to still capitalize on pog fever. He wanted to shoot it in an art school-ish guerilla style, but he had no story. According to the book “Last Movies & Heavens Gates: Great Directorial Failures (by Von Hayes, 2002, Press Gang Press) Coppola or as he was known to his friends FranFoCo wrote the script for The Pogfather one weekend while suffering from a high fever, and it shows. The freakish plot which seems like a hybrid of The Godfather and ABC’s Wide World of Sports consists of “Don” Poglione and his wife Gladys (Charlie and Maria Callas) trying to organize a legitimate Pog championship while battling other underworld Pog “families”. To call it stunningly bad doesn’t really do it justice and should really be seen to be believed. Coppola eventually went back and finished “Jack” which was also a failure.
The bonus disc is slim on extras containing an interview with Coppola during the filming of the movie and a pilot for a never aired children’s cartoon based on the characters from the Godfather called “Lil’ Vito’s Gang”.

porn names

Sitting around bored at work, it was Matt F., Matt B. and myself and we were trying to come up with interesting porn names. there was an old formula for a porn name which was the name of your pet and street where you grew up. So using that method my name would be “Lady Frontage Road”. That didn’t seem to work so here’s a couple we came up with:
Geyser Wilhelm
Drake Manroot
E.L. Fudge
Fast Eddie Felcher
Price Pfister

more to come (pun not intended)

First Thanksgiving

We’ve recently unearthed diaries from a couple of key figures associated with the Plymouth Pilgrims which shed some new light onto the first Thanksgiving. Here are some excerpts:

William Bradford (Governor of the Plymouth colony) November,1621
The local indians who call themselves the Wampanoag tribe, gathered their fall harvest and shared a “thanksgiving” meal with us. It has been a tough year for us all so this meal was a welcome respite from our troubles. We, the Plymouth Colony and the Wampanoag  both brought food to the celebration. The Indians started with tartar of Kobe beef, the beef  was quite good in it’s uncooked state, they say it came from somewhere called “Jap Pan” it was served with tiny black fish eggs they called “Bell Ooga Caviar”. We then presented one of our favorite dishes, truffled butternut squash with a side of lobster & crabmeat gratin. The Wampanoag brought ceremonial tables settings with them, their crystal stemware although quaint was somewhat insulting to our wine, an 1585 Chataeu LaTour. Also the absence of a proper oyster fork somewhat ruined the oyster experience for us. The locals primitiveness added to their take on salad, endive and quince with an artichoke puree garni was simple and delicious. Our main course was a traditional ravioli stuffed with guinea fowl and burrata cheese and had a delicate veal reduction. The red men served turkey which had a plum glaze with a spinach, bacon and cashew stuffing and black truffle butter and white wine gravy. Of course we saved the best for last, our world renowned Creme Brulee which was the talk of Kings throughout europe. It was quite a meal, not like we had back home but not bad. We just need to break these noble savages of some of their habits. No oyster fork? For shame.

Squanto (Native American, part of the Wampanoag tribe who spoke english & helped the pilgrims) November,1621
The white men were friendly enough and we felt sorry because of the bad luck that had befallen them and we decided to share our harvest celebration with these “pilgrims”. They didn’t know what to make of our tartar of Kobe beef, one of them stuck a lit candle in it to try and cook it, they also thought the caviar were soft poppy seeds. The palefaces truffled butternut squash was not as special as they led us to believe, kind of boring. The “pilgrims”  also seemed upset about the lack of an oyster fork, we’ve been using a small salad fork to eat oysters with for a couple of hundred years and so far have had no problems. Their guinea fowl stuffed ravioli was passable, ruined by a weak veal reduction. I don’t think any of them can deglaze a pan correctly. Of course the turkey went over well, how could it not. I defy the sun god himself to make a better black truffle butter and white wine gravy than me, I know he cannot. The “pilgrims” dessert of Creme Brulee which they were so proud of was frankly embarrassing, I’ve seen better deserts come out of the hind end of a dog. If this is the best they can do for a harvest celebration maybe we should have let them perish

Check these out (an honest post)

There are two blogs that are on my blog-roll or whatever the hell it’s called that are hitting their stride and doing great stuff. The first one is Spine Out by John Gall     I know I’ve mentioned his blog before, it’s mainly about book cover art and everything that goes into it. John has been working on a new series of covers for the books of Nabokov and there’s been a lot of cool stuff on there. The other is Morta Di Fame by Jen Galatioto      it’s ostensibly a food blog but there’s a lot more to it. Funny and interesting with great recipes and excellent photographs of the food being written about.

Failed cereals and their mascots

Part one: Rocco the Rock/ Kelloggs Super Sugar Rock Candy Clusters

Rocco the Rock espoused the virtues of Kelloggs Super Sugar Rock Candy Clusters with the tag line “Ya got rocks in your head if you don’t love these sweet, sweet rocks!”. The National Board of Breakfast Cerealogists (The NBBC) have called the cereal the second most harmful cereal ever sold*. What had parents and breakfast groups upset was a combination of teeth shattering rock candy clusters and the amount of sugar. It is reported that one 8oz. bowl had as much sugar as a whole wedding cake or a full sized sweet owl. Kelloggs stopped production of Super Sugar Rock Candy Clusters in April of 1978, two months after it was introduced. A Rocco the Rock Pet Rock which was included in select cereal boxes is now worth upwards of $500.00.

*The first most Harmful breakfast cereal was Quaker Oats & Ground Glass

Rocco the Rock


Red Bank welcomes it’s newest retailer


the Snappy Sultan

the Pasha Supreme

Turban Outfitters, America’s leading high fashion turban and accessory boutique opens it’s newest store in downtown Red Bank. Be there for the opening week celebrations which include sales on their leading turbans; the Snappy Sultan and the Pasha Supreme. A fun time will be had by most.

Orville Redenbacher board meeting

Excerpts from a recent Orville Redenbacher executive board meeting

Happ (chairman): Alright, let’s get down to business. We’ve gone about as far as we can with the Orville Redenbacher Popcorn brand, but we need to go further. We need new vistas, gentlemen?

Johnson: Well last Christmas we introduced pre-popped, pre-strung, multi-colored, popcorn garlands. We sold them as Orville’s Garlands, didn’t do to well.

Happ: Yes, I remember the pppsmcp garlands, that’s ancient history. I want something new gentlemen, new!

Tolan: I have a couple of ideas, if we grind up the unusable corn kernels we could sell it as kitty litter. Here, Orville’s Kitty Korn.

Happ: Ummmm, yeah I don’t think so. Generally people don’t like the food that they eat to be shit on by cats. It’s really all about perception. What’s your other idea?

Tolan: uhhhh, uh, Orville Obsorb: vomit cleanup granules. And this is made from…

Happ: Let me guess, ground popcorn kernels. Again, it’s about perception. Vomit doesn’t have a good connotation with food we enjoy. Is there anything else…please?

Farmer: I’ve been working on a popcorn breakfast cereal. I know there’s already cornflakes and cornpops, but this is different. Breakfast with Orville, hot fresh popped Orville Redenbacher popcorn with milk and sugar.

Happ: That sounds disgusting.

Farmer: No, try it. It’s amazing.

Happ: …Ohhh…uhhh Christ this is horrible…get me something to drink

Farmer: Here, it’s our new Orville’s Buttery Popcorn Soda.
Happ: …uhhh…jesus..[VOMIT SOUNDS]… you’re…[VOMIT SOUNDS] ..all fired.


Dear Sirs
While reading your inane Sesame Street “bit” (11/10/09:Forgotten Sesame Street characters) I remembered some real Sesame Street (or the SS as some of us say) trivia that will not only knock your socks off but to the best of my knowledge has been woefully underreported, here goes. The character of Ernie was actually based on New York Yankees catcher and modern day malapropist Yogi Berra. Yogi Berra was based on early sketches of future Hanna Barbera cartoon star Yogi Bear. Yogi Bear in turn influenced the Beatles spiritual advisor Maharishi Marash Yogi, who while being a Yogi Bear fan was actually a bigger Jetsons fan but he thought (rightly so) that calling himself Maharishi Spacely Sprockets would not have been a prudent career move. Also Yogi and the Bear was a popular sitcom in India during the 70’s, it’s plot consisted of a flying carpet pilot and his animal sidekick. It’s all really quite zesty.
Stay in school.
Monsignor Warren J. Commission

As I was perusing your humorous tale of coffee houses with funny names (11/6/09:Coffee Houses of Red Bank) I came up with a few of my own. I have to be honest, they made me laugh (sometimes out loud ☺). Here they are, I hope you like them. Ta-Daa!
-The Coffee Hat- It’s a place that sells special hats, that are also coffee cups!
-The Sun Also Rises…On Coffee- A literary store that sells coffee, in books (that are actually coffee cups)!
-Cups and Robbers- A coffee shop where the coffee waiters and waitresses dress up as cops (who serve regular coffee) and robbers (who serve de-caf)
-Ziggy Starmug and the Spiders From Planet Coffee- It’s like if the Hardrock Café was a coffee shop. In a word, caffeinated glamtasticness!
Well that’s what I got so far, waddya think? (fingers crossed ☺)
Thank you for the time.
Martian Scorsese

I Hate Me, Part 225,881

Food Townasaurus Rex

Day off and I had to go to Foodtown to fill in the stuff that was forgotten on the weekly list. My wife who usually writes the list has handwriting that could be charitably described as “hard to read”:
Me-This says “Pearches”, do you mean “peaches” or “pears” or filet of Perch
(I get fixed with a stare that says “idiot” before the word is said)
Carrie- You idiot (“idiot” is said slowly, it’s savored) that doesn’t say “Pearches” it says Bounty…paper towels
Just before I complain about her chicken scratch I remember that my handwriting, at best looks like someone taped a pen to a dogs paw and set him off at a piece of paper, illegible scrawl and some chew marks.
I got to food town and as I was getting some milk I saw an old woman struggling to reach the half & half:
-Here let me help you with that
+I want the Foodtown half & half
-(grabbing a pint) Here you go.
+I want a quart not a pint
-The don’t have Foodtown quarts how about Farmland?
+Feh, that’s garbage, are you sure there are no Foodtown quarts?
-I’m sure (regretting that I offered to help you)
+Well a pint doesn’t help me
-How about two pints?
+(stoney glare)
-Hey, there’s a guy who works here. Maybe he can help.
I flee.
As I was finishing I went to use the restroom. So I parked my cart which was full of food in a spot that wasn’t in anyones way. Two minutes later I came out and my cart was gone. Christ, I wasn’t gone that long so I start looking around and a woman with a cart came up to me:
+Oh, was this your cart?
-Yeah, I parked it over there while I used the restroom.
+Oh, I thought it was abandoned
-Abandoned? There was food in it
+Oh yeah, I guess there was.
-…Soooo where did you put my stuff?
She walked over to the gourmet cheese section and in the middle of the wine infused goat cheese and the twenty dollar slabs of Pecorino Romano was my food just sitting there in a pile; box of cereal, paper towels, 3 frozen dinners, 1/2 gallon of milk and a couple of yogurts.
+Uh…I guess you want your cart back
-You would be correct.
She grabbed her stuff and left. Of course when I got to the check out she was in front of me. I just tried to act invisible.

Forgotten Sesame Street characters


Granpa What?!


Wayland Flowers & Madame

Forgotten Sesame Street Characters

Granpa What?! (first appearance 3/4/1971-last appearance 4/4/1971)

Predating the humorous old hecklers Statler and Waldorf by four years, Granpa What?! Was a short lived attempt at an elderly Muppet character. Created by Muppet mastermind Jim Henson, the Granpa What?! character would stumble into ongoing skits and disrupt them by yelling “What?!” and “You’ll have to speak up”. Instead of reminding children of their loving grandparents the character was scary and confusing to most children and in some market research tests his presence caused crying and hysterics in the youngest demographic (3-5 year olds). According to Henson’s posthumously released autobiography “I, Muppet” (1994, Olive Press) the failure of Granpa What?! was devastating as were his other big Muppet failures, Dougie (an incontinent horse) and the early version of Oscar the Grouch, a politically charged Nixon the Grouch. FBI director J. Edger Hoover believed that Henson had communist sympathies and he was under constant surveillance. Henson was also the only muppeteer* on President Nixon’s enemies list.

*[I would also like to note that the only puppet/puppeteer on the fabled “enemies list” were Wayland Flowers and Madame who together with Jane Fonda performed for Vietnamese communist revolutionary Ho Chi Minh.]


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