RTW, Japan, NC & Me

Brian over at Review the World has launched another great video of his visit to my homeland of North Carolina. Here, we taste a little flavor of Japan with their spicy chips, wacky soda and green tea Kit-Kats. it was a blast shooting with Brian especially since I have been a fan of his site for so many years.

More to come so heads up! Oh, and he is returning for the Halloween Hootnany, happening right here the first week of September. I’ll get into that later. But for now, here is Brian and me in the second edition of VeggieMacabre and RtW Meet! Hope you enjoy!

9 Things I Don’t Regret Buying

Before I begin this post about frivolous spending to decorate an office that should be renamed “Josh Baskins’ apartment”, I need to say something about the passing of Robin Williams.

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He died today. I never knew him but the effect he had on me was nothing short of the impact of losing a family member and maybe we can all blame that on this TV generation. I loved him as a small kid on the show Mork and Mindy, cheered in the theater with Hook, confused by Mrs. Doubtfire, cried for his character in Good Will Hunting and forever changed by Dead Poet Society. He is gone but like all great people, his legacy is forever. It’s not like me to be emotional but you, Robin, were a giant and your fall has crushed me.

So! With drier eyes I will now get on with the show. I have been so very busy between work and this crazy upcoming season that I have been finding smaller enjoyment by drinking a couple of glasses of wine at night and let my fingers do the shopping via iPad. You know what that leads to? That’s right, a surprise package a couple of weeks later and possible re-gifts later in the year.

This is what I have acquired thanks to eBay, online links and the random local antique shops who have no idea what gold is hiding in their inventory. Well, not gold they may consider but gold to me.

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WUUUUT? You mean to tell me that President Nixon had Charles Shultz in his political pocket? No way. No way, no how. But I have to hand it to the campaign! They knew how to get to the Halloween and Pagan voters, although in the 1960/70’s, being a macabre lover was a bold underground reach. If I had this hung on my doorknob it would be difficult if not impossible to vote another way.

I saw this on eBay and bought it for a friend. I honestly can not believe I won this for only $10 which leads me to question its authenticity. Made of cardboard paper and in amazing shape, I will say this was an actual campaign door-hanger but can not be an original. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love it any less. I never buy things for monitory worth. It’s VeggieMacabre worth and this is worth 17,900,453 Plinkyplanks which is my currency. Equivalent to three pounds of wild cherry Starbursts. So, a lot!

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Say it ones, say it twice, third times the charm…

Holy shit, it is the cleverly placed ad that fell out of the Guidebook For the Recently Diseased. Er…Deceased!

I loved this the second I laid eyes on it and I knew it had to be mine. Tim Burton has a way with making the supernatural feel completely normal and this extermination ad has been planted in my brain since 1988. It’s even perfectly torn to hide the treacherous third “Beetlegeuse” so not to accidentally resurrect the deceased graduate of Julliard who has seen The Exorcist way too many times.

The role reversal in this ad is fantastic, even making the fleeing family obese. I have tried pausing the scene in the movie and while I don’t think it’s 100% a match, the fact it’s prepackaged with the same fold lines makes it pretty great. If I find another, I will place this in a gospel next time I go to church. So…stay tuned this Christmas.

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Shitassdickticklefuck!- “If I fake Tourette’s I know I don’t have it.” – Bob Whiley

Can you believe Jack Palance was Dracula?!?! This happened. Not only did that happen but the “Queen of Macabre” and “Mistress of the Dark”, Elvira hosted this ThrillerVideo copy on VHS and I feel like smacking my thumbs with a hammer for not having a VCR. Holy shit! I love Jack Palace and he shit bigger than Billy Crystal which we all know, but at the end of the day, it’s all about Elvira. ALL ABOUT ELVIRA.

I paid $1.00. The curse of Dracula ain’t so bad.

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Back in my day we like the fast food advertisements. We even wore them to work! Well, maybe some people did who worked there. I lucked out and found this in a pile of ties in the town of Pittsboro, NC. They gave it to me for free. How many McMuffins do you think I will score, mang?

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Another conundrum by having the means without the way. I have a classic collection of Simpson episodes placed in amazing packaging and no way to view them. The same place I score the tie and the Jack Palance Dracula video but this time I paid the price of $7.00. Pretty awesome considering the going rate on eBay is $29.

I love the Simpson macabre episodes and this collection is not just the Halloween episodes but the darker ones which makes my cold blood a degree higher. Plus, it’s strange to see the biology of The Simpsons. Their skeletal structure includes their hairline. BEEEESH!

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What the fuck was Max Headroom? Seriously. It seemed like a glitchy advertisement which 80’s companies could not harness well until Back To The Future 2 came out and even then relied on the the dickhole from Iran and Michael Jackson instead of Max. “BBBBBeans”.

The only reason I bought this was because of a family get-together in New Jersey with the whole family during Christmas sometime around when the Max Headroom show was popular. My drunk step uncle was telling a joke about how to blame the dog for farts and made my great-aunt laugh so hard she leaned down and started a forward momentum which resulted in a run/fall/hip injury. I was a little kid and before being rushed from the room had to hear, “Rose needs another pair of panties. Go upstairs and get some panties!

This will be passed alone to one of you luck readers.

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I own half of a set of Pac-Man glasses. Paid waaaay too much for these. But milk looks better with a black fore-drop.

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The toy among toys, the ships among ships, the movie among movies; the Millennium Falcon. Good Christ I wanted this toy so bad but sadly had to get pieces of it at a garage sale in the early 1990’s for .50.  At that time I really didn’t care about the fun of starship toys but rather the defeated marathon race runner who crossed the finished line with the final words, “see…told you I would own it.” Then died.

Today as an adult, I found a place which sells a couple of Millennium Falcons and I bought not only this one but the another just to throw it out of my sunroof. Apparently it IS impossible to make the jump to light speed without R2-D2’s help.

Bought it for a cool $20. Thanks to my buddy at a store already blogged about.

(hint hint read more on this blog)

Okay, we come to the last item. This was not a drunken eBay item or a flea market find. This has been a dream since I was five years old. See, I grew up in Marietta, Georgia in the early 80’s and lived only a half-mile from Showbiz Pizza Palace. My dream was to have a tunnel from my room to the their main game room in that restaurant. Honestly, it was actually proposed to my parents many times before I finally moved out to go to college.

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Today, I have all these games in an arcade platform and no quarters are needed. I’ve played seven of the sixty.

I guess old and silly fantasies feel good to finally capture though the chase is sometimes more rewarding than the catch. I love this arcade game, don’t get me wrong, but deep down I still want a tunnel to Showbiz after all.

Thanks for not completely judging me for these silly buys. I thought you might like a few and actually, if you read along you might be the new owner of  most of these finds. FOR FREE! Keep posted because it is coming!

Who is excited for September? Me Me Me!

FLTO: Toby and the Great Battle of the Burgers!

Howdy guys! This is a very special guest appearance for the “For A Limited Time Only” edition of VeggieMacabre! The cool champ from the great state of Texas, Toby Marks, brings us an awesome review of the great super power burgers from Liberty Burger based out of Dallas. Check out his awesome site, Toby Blog! I heard his kid can complete a Rubix Cube in 2.354 seconds.

Big thanks, Toby! Great work!

LIBERY BURGER: SOVIETS VS USA

In the 80s the Cold War cast its shadow on everything. Everything was a war. We had Star Wars, Cola Wars, Burger Wars, WarGames, Battles of the Network Stars, you name it.

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We were in a titanic confrontation with the evil Soviet Empire, and the fate of the world hung on the outcome. The world could be blown up on any given day. It was just something you knew and accepted.

Oddly enough most of the people who lived through those times are nostalgic for them today. I guess it was because we loved to have a bad guy out there, because that made us the good guy, and we didn’t have to think much about it.

America versus Russia. Good versus Evil. It was the classic, the ultimate, showdown. A rivalry so heated, so sizzling hot, you could almost taste the flame-broiled, beefy goodness of it.


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Woah. Trailed off there for second, didn’t I?

Maybe, or maybe not, because the young Dallas-based burger chain Liberty Burger has done about the best job of embodying the Cold War conflict in beef and bread since Nixon and Khrushchev flung patties at each other during the Kitchen Debate. <— my Dennis Miller line

Listen, ARE YOU READY TO RUMBLE?!!!!

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Well pull up a chair to the bar and grab an ice cold lager, because this Burger War is on for a LIMITED TIME ONLY, and it’s about to get hot!

The battle began last year on Independence Day when Liberty Burger announced this monstrosity of an LTO. Representing The United States of America in this competition is the storied “All American”.

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“Our custom beef patty, topped with hot dogs (yes, hot dogs), Cheddar cheese, sweet pickle relish, chopped white onions, ketchup, and yellow mustard. Served on our brioche bun.”

Sheer madness. The audacity of beef. Larger-than-life and in your face (literally). Like America itself, this is a burger that forces you to take sides.

Just look at it.

A mountain of meat all dripping with condiments it can barely contain. A knife planted firmly in its skull, like Ganondorf at the end of Wind Waker. It’s a wanton, sloppy mess. Like Elvis in his Vegas years.

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Yet, there’s something compelling about it. It screams “food challenge”. And you must admit that everything appears to be in order for a patriotic-themed burger. Hot dogs, summer, baseball games — your mind leaps so fast between the connections that you can already see the fireworks going off in the background.

This had to be tried. For the country.

So what else could I do but load up the fam and truck on down to the LB to experience this for myself. I think my littlest was as eager as I was.

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While waiting I decided to try some Ugly Pug from famed Ft. Worth brewery Rahr & Sons. Not a bad brew, but I think I prefer their Buffalo Butt.

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I ordered my burger with a side of “skinny fries” and some of that crazy good LB house mustard.

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It did come impaled on the end of a knife, but in person the burger was a little more presentable (and manageable) than the promo shot.

I was glad for that because it made it easier to eat without spilling ketchup and relish all over myself. The flavor was good — in fact, the whole thing left a different impression from what I imagined. I expected something super-heavy on my stomach, and it really wasn’t; at least, no more so than a typical burger. Nor was it a sloppy, gushing mess. The flavors seemed to gel, but that was no big surprise. We’re talking about ketchup, mustard, pickles on a burger, after all. The dogs themselves were tasty, but subdued. You barely noticed either the texture or flavor. It all came together to give the impression that you were eating not a hot dog-stuffed burger, but rather something like a hot dog-flavored burger.

And it worked. On every intended level.

This was Americana. This burger bled nostalgia. With those grade A skinny fries (imagine McDonald’s fries at the peak of perfection) and a cold beer, I felt like I was straddling the summit of American pop cuisine. About the only thing missing was a companion apple pie-flavored cocktail along the lines of what they offer with their Ghost Burger at Halloween. That would have made this a meal of epic proportions. That, and if it were served with lit sparklers mounted on the tray.

As it was, this was a burger to be proud of. One worthy of the name —

ALL AMERICAN 🇺🇸

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In the Battle of the Burgers, the U.S. had delivered a powerful opening salvo.

Seven months later, Russia would return fire.

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To commemorate the opening of the Sochi Winter Olympics, Liberty Burger announced a new LTO feature — To Russia With Love.

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The new challenger’s appearance was as formidable as it was unexpected.

Our beef blend topped with sliced Kielbasa sausage, Russian cabbage, Swiss cheese, and our house made Liberty Mustard all served on our brioche bun!

The moment I saw that image on the website I knew that I’d inevitably be comparing it to the 4th of July special. They even included a hammer and sickle in the logo, for crying out loud. They knew what they were doing. This was intentional. The challenge was on. The kielbasa sausage immediately evoked comparisons with the humble franks that gave the All American its character, and the cabbage was a completely new addition to the arsenal. They traded American cheese for Swiss, which was a no-brianer thematically, but which was also an obvious and nice pairing for the sausage. That mustard, though. It tied the whole thing together. I’d had it before so I new exactly what to expect. A little tang, a little horseradish heat; it was gonna make that sausage pop. My mouth was watering just looking at it, which was pretty much the opposite impression left with me by my first sight of the All American.

Apparently the day I dropped by to try the Russian LTO I was pretty hungry, because I ordered the double-patty upgrade. Maybe partly as a result of that, the burger appeared every bit as impressive as advertised.

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The photo here is kind of blurry, but it shows that the cheese was still freshly melted. The kielbasa was on the bottom, below the beef patties, as was the mustard. Proportions seemed generous. I dug in.

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The burger did not fail to satisfy. It was delicious. Unlike the franks on the All American which sort of blended in with the other tastes and textures, the kielbasa on the Russian LTO was clearly the standout. Savory and juicy, it stole the show and kept you wanting more with each bite. And if you’ve never had cabbage on a burger, now is the time to try it. I’ve had cabbage on Korean burgers and there, as with this here, it tends to soak up and amplify the flavors and juices from the meat.

FINAL DECISION

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Sorry, America. Really. I hate to drop the news on Independence Day, but like George Washington I cannot tell a lie. The To Russia With Love LTO dropped the bomb on the All American. Better ingredients, better flavors, the patriotic All American was just outclassed and outpaced in the LTO arms race.

Better luck next year, Uncle Sam

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(Note: My hopes for rematch in 2014 were dashed. To my great disappointment LB did not offer an Independence Day LTO this year, so the judgment will have to stand.)