Hardnose Hatcher

I always wait to pull the Holiday trigger after Matt does at X-Entertainment and though it feels early, I am already in full swing. This time of the year gets busy fast so if I want to squeeze all the fun in the season, it has to start now. But much like a sixth grade Sadie Hawkins dance, it’s hard to get the party started. How can we kick off the” Thanksmas” celebration? I think I will dissect a little McDonald’s holiday commercial from the Thanksgiving of 1987. If you don’t know her you soon will. “Hardnose” Mrs. Hatcher.

Long ago, when I was a kid, the McDonald’s corporation actually had decent, heartfelt commercials that were not only catchy but had cute messages like appreciate your teachers, don’t count out the elderly and having a part time job at McDonald’s was something your five year old would be proud of. Today, well, we have Happy Meals in bags with apples and Ronald McDonald does yoga while pitching child-size bottled water. Life today is devout of story and only filled in with sound bites and catch phrases. I miss the days of “Hardnose” Mrs. Hatcher.

This commercial will always be a holiday classic because it has been preserved in a VHS copy of the Claymation Christmas Special that aired on CBS back in 1987. The story is about a tough teacher from the perspective of a third grade class. They sing this cute song to the tune of the McDonald’s 1980’s theme “Good time for the great taste of McDonald’s” and explain what a total bitch she can be. As you can see above, she is shooing way the token ass-kisser of the class. Everybody was an equal maggot in Mrs. Hatcher’s class.

She paces the aisles of the classroom like Darth Vader, demanding to open the text books to a certain page or face a probable fate of a public chastising. The look of intimidation is reflective of the faces of the kids. Mrs. Hatcher has a standing rule of absolute no fuckery.

No matter what the excuse, like the legitimate “homework flew out the bus window” line, it doesn’t hold water with Mrs. Hatcher. She knows that homework only is eaten by dogs. Her ancient Kulu Flatchu “Stare of Truth” brings this lad to his knees, confessing the fact that he didn’t do it. One thousand knuckle push-ups in the back of the classroom!

The only reprieve from “Hardnose” Hatcher was an occasional substitute  teacher. The collective sigh and low-fives clearly express the constant tension and standard these kids are expected to uphold.

But soon the ways of Mrs. Hatcher prove to have an ulterior motive as inspiration and determination showed the kids that they can achieve anything through hard work. Hard work and an occasional hickory lashing on the side of the school building. (that’s on the extended studio release) When things got tough, she made them stick to it. As seen above, it appears that Jimmy Sad-Face finally mastered the dreaded cursive “Z”. Mrs. Hatcher maybe a “hardnose” but she was also a softheart. (God shoot me)

At thirty-seven seconds into the commercial we reach the last day of school and all the kids may have whip scars and calloused knuckles but hell if they haven’t mastered long division! The kids have a “Hardnose Hatcher” day of appreciation at the local McDonald’s as the class bitch announces exactly what they gave her from the menu. I think this was the #two on the menu back in ’87 but Mrs. Hatcher demanded that no cut-corners will ever be tolerated so she had to spell out the prehistoric McDLT, drink and fries. Mrs. Hatcher was pleased.

But we aren’t quite done yet. The third grade class still had one more parting gift for their teacher. Jimmy Sad-face is elected to present a t-shirt with everyone’s signature to her with the tear-jerking words “we’ll never forget ‘cha”. Jimmy Sad-Face isn’t thrilled with his name but it beats his second grade name of Jimmy Shit-His-Pants.

What’s this? “Hardnose” Mrs. Hatcher has the capability of emotion? It’s okay, Mrs. Hatcher. The year is over. Feel free to crack your horsey smile just once. The kids deserve a little peek at what’s behind that tough exterior. Summer is long to a third grader and next year is the big world of fourth grade. Your sweaters and lipstick stained coffee mugs will be a distant memory.

So, in just a over a minute we covered an entire school year and the legacy of “Hardnose” Mrs. Hatcher. It’s funny to look back at this because in 1987 I was the age of a third grader… I think. I remember watching this with an empathetic nod as the kids are forced to devote the third grade to Mrs. Hatcher when the next door class had the hot twenty-three year old fun teacher. I think everyone of us has had a “Hardnose” Hatcher. And in all honesty, they are the ones that we remember the most.

You just read a breakdown of a commercial from 1987. Feel good about that? I am sorry. If you have a spare minute you can watch it below and have the tune in your head till 2087.

Guess what??? It’s that time of the year again and Thanksmas season means that VeggieMacabre.TV has now switched gears. Come check out the new layout and soon all the X-Mas adventures will begin.

Me Thinks Me Should Say It MeSelf

We sure did rip through the first week of October, didn’t we? Holy Hannah! I am working on a shitload of beer reviews as well as other projects to boast VeggiemacabreTV and brother, business is a boomin’. I find the work thing and life thing to be a bit of a compromising situation though, so while I want to do it all I can only do it some. But I promise it will be great. I hope.

Here is me rambling in my work clothes and trying to give some new insight with this thing I call a hobby. Be well and see you in a sec!

Where Did You Go? Part 14: FOOD

There are literally hundreds of retro food blogs out there that list every possible snack, soda, TV dinner, candy and fast food that has been discontinued in the history of ever. Some even track down the original item and have them in possession for pictures and possibly a daring taste test some 15 years after expiration. To those people who are that devoted to the dead sodas and snack crackers of the world, I commend you. I am not that devoted. But, I will write my own personal thoughts and memories of some of these deceased items so you can get a little taste of my opinions as I bitch and moan over why I have cognitive haunts about a drink I haven’t tasted in 20 years.

The Item: I was a lucky to be of the perfect age for the invention of the fruit snack. As a young kid, there was nothing better than to witness the combination of candy and snack. Fun Fruits and Fruit Rollups were about as amazing as fire to a caveman for a six-year-old. It was our heroine and we had to have it. Poor Mom was never allowed to go to the grocery store without bringing home a box and if we were with her on that chore, there was always a scene. “But they have vitamin C! THEY HAVE VITAMIN CEEEEEEEE!

Gone are the days when fruit snacks looked like deer shit and came in flavors like orange and cherry. No, nowadays they all have to have themes and familiar shapes to kids as if buying X-Men fruit snacks tasted any different from Barbie ones. These particular snacks have morphed into 3 feet long rolled up strips, snacks filled with goo, temporary tattoos for the tongue, stack-able cut outs, and formed into every Disney character ever created. I saw this coming in 1988 with the introduction of Shark Bites. I knew the simple days were through. The death of Fruit Corners died a quiet death, but I will still shed a tear.

The Item: Candilicious is not a stripper. I just wanted to make that clear because in search for the picture above, I was exposed to many of these dancers. That is a big distraction when waxing childhood nostalgia.

No, this was a great late 80’s candy that proved the mentality of my childhood was always bigger = better. Perhaps it was that my mandibular suck-hole was smaller but I remember almost choking every time I ate this. Imagine the taste of Starbusts, softer than Now and Laters and bigger than Laffy Taffy and you have Candilicious. It was a Bubbalicious product and in some ways it was the answer to my wish of swallowing my gum at the zenith point of it’s taste. I imagine 5 out of 5 dentists agree this candy should be not only discounted but wiped from all memory completely. But I remember. Nice try tooth nazis.

The Item: Burples might just be an item that history forgot. Perhaps it was the fact that the fruit drink was shockingly potent or maybe the futuristic attraction of the recently released Capri Sun, the Burples just never made a lasting impression. The bottle came collapsed with a powdered inside and all you needed to do was add water. If memory serves me right, it fizzed and expanded the accordion shaped bottle, but that might be in my head. The finished result meant a sugar high so intense, it will cause you to race around the house, slip on the linoleum and crack your head open on the kitchen counter.

The cool thing about these deceased drinks is that somewhere, buried deep in the two decade layered landfill, the non biodegradable containers still remain. A tribute to the 1980 consumer and our foresight beyond mutually assured destruction. Burples!

The Item: Five Alive was a staple in the house growing up and it was always in the condensed frozen can you see above. I can actually close my eyes and remember wrestling with the damn plastic strip that kept the metallic cap on. Then squeezing the can over the pitcher and watch it poop the orange/yellow concentrate in a slow sounding ‘schloooop’. There was a certain satisfaction of “making” juice, even if it just meant pouring in three cans of cold water and stirring. But there were a few times Dad would spit a large glop of frozen 5 Alive back into his glass. That’s what you get for putting a 7-year-old on juice duty.

I believe 5 Alive is still out there among the various juices and as an adult I am not sure if I would buy it. I remember not really liking it as a kid. Maybe it was the lime and grapefruit combination that had me wincing while watching ABC morning cartoons. What’s wrong with plain old O.J.?

The Item: The PB Max is..er…was amazing. Not only was it a brick of a candy bar but it would simultaneously enlarge your ass, give you type one diabetes and destroy the ability to whistle for a year. I heard a guy who had a peanut allergy one time walked into a gas station that sold PB Max’s and his lips, hands and feet exploded.

I can understand why PB Max’s died like Ryan White because eating half of a jar of peanut butter in one sitting is pretty amazing. Even for a candy bar. Plus it is a mess. It’s like a rapidly melting brownie filled with something that will smell up a minivan for years to come.

The Item: All the cereals of the 80′ and 90’s that had a link to either cartoons, video games or candy are pretty much dead. Long gone are the days when you could come out of the fort you built in the den and chow down on cereal with crushed lollipops and sugared marshmallow sugary sugars. No, the FDA says that they can’t use such marketing ploys to kill off kids, increase the medical insurance debacle, and cause adult depression linked to childhood obesity and repressed memories of mean skinny kids who sang “fatboy fatboy, why ya so fat? Cake on the lips, jelly in the gut, BIG BUTT!” Fuck you Sugar Bear. Look what you have done.

Now we have Grapenuts. With neither grapes nor nuts. I get no respect. Respect is niiiiice.

For real reviews of snacks and junk food you should… no… have to check out Matt’s articles.  These are classics. Peace and love.

11 Dead Sodas

Freezer Finds

Garfield Snacks

American Gladiator Bars

It’s Christmas Time Already?

What? When did this happen? I am not going to say that I don’t like it, but what happened to, well, the year? I suppose there is no use in being upset by a year that when from zero to “Ba-Zing” so…let’s start the holiday off with a bang!

If the above image is confusing to you, then I guess you don’t have X-Entertainment.com in your life, and I am sad for you. Like a broken record, every year at the same time, I shout from the mountain tops to check out Matt’s famous site of all things great. So this year is no different. Make a point to click the link and take a fun trip, whether it is the blog or the wacky antics in the advent calender, I promise you’ll feel colors. Red and Green colors.

For the first official day of the 2009 Christmas season, I believe I will discuss the greatest memories I have and that is the countless hours spent browsing the Sears catalog, making a “wish list” and checking twice. Or three hundred times. Ok, five hundred. Whatever. Combing my memory, here are some great toys that even today, I wouldn’t mind having.

The USS FLAGG was the greatest toy a boy could have. It was like a toy for your toys. That didn’t make any sense, I know, but go with me here. It was so massive it required a permanent portion of a room. I had fantasies about this thing. I dreamed of being the kid that truly had the best gift every kid wanted and the massive amounts superficial friends I would acquire because of it. I dreamed of eating cheeseburgers on the deck while watching Thundercats. I dreamed of reenacting the opening scene of  Top Gun while humming the theme song. A kid can dream, can’t he? But sadly enough, it was a dream. Never had the damn thing.

Holy shit did I have a few of these. I think this was the present that all my relatives bought for me when I was six. It was as if everyone got a memo for that Christmas stating my aspirations to build a fleet for the Rebel Alliance. What ever the case, if you needed a Kenner X-Wing; I was your guy. The one thing I hated about this toy was the laser sound. It made a noise that would turn a cat inside out and explode. What ever that noise was, it was not a laser sound. Watch this below and see what I am talking about. “REEEEE”

Speaking of lasers, remember this awesomeness of awesome? The Hasbro Lazer Tag set was one of my most treasured Christmas gifts and even though I never found a kid in the neighborhood who had a set to compete with, I did enjoy shooting myself with the help of the bathroom mirror. The only thing I didn’t like about this was the noisy heartbeat sounds on the monitor. Made sneaking around pretty much impossible.

When I was searching for the perfect Transformer picture to rant and rave for the “must have” toy of the mid to late 80’s, I came upon this. Megatron. In an instant I was whisked off the couch back to 1987, sitting in my PJ’s on the blue carpeted den in Marietta, Georgia on Christmas morning. On my lap was this glorious purple box. When I took it out of the static clinging styrofoam I immediately began to “transform” the Rugger pistol into the nemesis of Optimus Prime, ignoring the pleads of my father not to force it. But before I knew it, I forced it, and hyper-extended it. I broke off the leg of Megatron. Though the disappointment was apparent, I still managed to enjoy it for what it was. God, I can still smell the pine, scotch tape and new plastic. Some nostalgia can rival any of Einstein’s greatest theories.

Pow Pow Power Wheels! Much like the dream of owning the USS Flagg, another pipe dream of mine was owning a set of Power Wheels. I had plenty of first grade daydreams of driving my Power Wheel Jeep to the store for my Mom or picking up my pal Toby and cruising to Showbiz Pizza and catching a Rock-A-Fire Explosion animatronic show. But it was not in the stars. But the next year I did car jack the neighbors daughter and take her Barbie Jeep around the block. That is until Mom found out and a foot chase issued. Turns out Power Wheels were a lot faster in my dreams. I was escorted by the elbow to a cell without dinner.

The WWF Wrestling Buddies were a big item for my friends and me. What toy could be better than an Ultimate Warrior a 75 pound kid can body slam? In fact, this pillow character above is directly responsible for a dislocated shoulder. I will just say the couch is not a platform for a pile driver. It’s embarrassing to admit losing a match to a half pound pillow. Even if it was this dude:

Yeah, would you mess with this guy? I didn’t think so.

Perhaps it was for a lack of siblings but I really wanted a bear that could read me bedtime stories and have conversations about Star Wars. This was the one time it was sociably acceptable to have a teddy bear as a boy. We all knew Christopher Robin was a pansy. But going through my old photos from my time home for Thanksgiving I found a troubling picture.

Ah shit. No wonder. I will leave it at that. No wonder.

Nothing will fuck a vacuum up like a Lite Brite peg. I know this from experience. But really, I have received this a couple of different times during Christmas and even though I understood the concept, I never made anything more than an illuminated Jackson Pullock. Seriously, if Lite Brite was an intelligence test, I would have scored somewhere between “cat with paintbrush in mouth” and “chimp with paint on it’s ass”. Meh, this was a shit gift.

No, I have never owned a Strawberry Shortcake doll but I have tried to eat one. Like you haven’t at least thought about it. But I can attest, it just tastes like plastic.

I believe this is a good way to wrap up this old Christmas-want article. The one, the only Castle Greyskull. Even my Grandmother knows what Castle Greyskull is. This magnificent play set was a Masters of the Universe staple in every snotty kid’s room. I was shit, I admit. I even had Skeletor’s Castle. In fact, there are fond memories of saying “boner” over the Doom microphone. I suppose you have to be eight to see the humor. I still cackle when I hear “boner”.

I hope some of my memories have brought up a few of yours. I know I can’t be alone in my head toy chest. Tis the season to be happy and these memories make me smile no matter where or when. Let’s kick off the X-Mas fun starting….right…….NOW!

The 2009 Fall Beer Review: Part 1

And here we are! It is mid September and this Indian summer is finally fading into a crisp fall here in the Northwest. I must admit that this is one of my favorite times of year. You can just feel the change happen; spookiness with a need for sweaters and I love it.

This also is a time for the 3rd Annual Fall Beer Review! You’re damn right I am making this an annual thing and it is a great excuse for me to combine brews with my favorite season. If you can’t trick or treat, this is the next best thing. But this year I am having two. A private micro brew is sending me theirs so I have to wait but until then I have wanted to review a larger Fall beer that is one of my favorites.

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Enter Michelob’s Jack’s Pumpkin Spice Ale. This is a beer that should be named something like, “Son of a Bitch This Is Awesome!” because it hits on every Autumn tinge that makes this a seasonal beer. And above all else, it is lighter to accomodate those who are not true hardcore beer fanatics. Some people don’t like to heave after every sip.

Before I get to the taste, I need to point out that the look of this bottle/package is just too great not to jump around and howl at the moon for. From the orange fade-to-brown color scheme to the mascot, “Jack”, it lets the drinker know that they are drinking a season in a bottle. It almost reminds me of a throw back to the early eighties when jack-o-lanterns and scarecrows still ruled the decor for Halloween. At least that is the perception from me as a child. If they included a black cat on here then I probably would have thrown the six pack on the ground in the grocery and break danced in the froth and glass in a celebratory fashion. Luckily for Jack, the grocery store, aisle 5 and me, there are no cats on the label art.

jack

NUTMEG, CINNAMON, GINGER and CLOVES. These are the primary ingredients in this potion. My heart pitters over the balance of not only the spices but the words. It is like a witch’s concoction that casts a spell to buy paper skeletons and watch Halloween until the VCR finally spits it out in protest. And the blend? Pure September/October because remember, Halloween is not a day but a season.

glass have full

This is one of those beers that can not be faulted when the air is cool, college football is on and leaves are falling. If it is 90 and you are sitting by the pool you may feel like you are drinking a spent Hallmark seasonal candle. Luckily we are in the time frame to enjoy this one and I think it is beyond aces. But the past couple of years you have only heard my take. I’m going to go ask my neighbors to weigh in.

I will leave you with these because, really…I am drunk now. Seriously, I have downed a few of these and I just think anymore of me rambling will lead to embarrassment. But I did ask Matt at X-E.com and he said persevere. Will do sir. Next review I will carve something and that is a promise. So, here are my friends and their take.

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Cearsar: It doesn’t taste like the normal seasonal brews. It’s not a “bitch” beer but it’s definitely not a beer you would think. It is smooth and goes down easy and I got used to the taste and that causes one to start drinking more quickly. Not a good thing.”

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Giggles: “Tasty up front and I also like the after taste. It tastes like pumpkin pie but not too strong. The best thing I like is the lower carbonation and lighter body. It doesn’t leave you feeling full and bloated.”

sad wookie

Hairy Wookie: “Free beer? Where?” Actually this is the beer to drink around a campfire. It is something to keep you warm at night but not too full to keep you down in  the morning.”

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