Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Judging Books by Their Covers - Part 2!

Last month, I did the unthinkable - I went against the popular idiom and judged some books by their covers (basically I write a fake summary of a book based only on its cover and title). This month, I'm doing it again! Like last time, I haven't read the real summary or thought about my B.S. summaries in advance, so I guess we'll see what happens. Hopefully it won't include any furries or poor female hygiene this time. No promises though.

First up, we have A Long Vacation for Mr. and Mrs. Bumba by Pearl Augusta Harwood:

This is one of those children's books that is supposed to teach a life lesson. It is all about a happy family, the Bumbas. In the first few pages, we are introduced to Splashy, the family goldfish, which Susie Bumba (the youngest daughter) loves to death. Literally. She decides she wants to have a sleepover with Splashy and so she takes him out of the tank and puts him under the covers with her one night. The book doesn't go into specifics about what exactly happens under the covers, but the book claims Splashy "dried out," which leads the reader to assume that there wasn't any fishy romance involved. There is a whole ceremony around the toilet where Papa Bumba tells Susie that Splashy isn't dead, he just needs to go on a "long vacation." This calms Susie down.

Seeing how well that explanation worked on little Susie, her parents start using this excuse for everything. She broke her bike - it went on a long vacation. She lost a tooth - it went on a long vacation. They can't afford the internet anymore - long vacation. Mama and Papa Bumba know how attached to her grandparents Susie is, but they are getting on in years, so Mama and Papa concoct a plan.

Susie's grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Bumba, have tickets to see the World Series of Bingo Live in Las Vegas; Mama and Papa ask them stop by and say goodbye to Susie. Being the good grandparents that they are, Mr. and Mrs. head right over and say goodbye to Susie, and even agree to use the cryptic "long vacation" excuse at Mama's and Papa's request. Then they leave. What they don't know is that Mama and Papa cut their brakes, and so is the end of Mr. and Mrs. It was really in Susie's best interest.

At the end of the book there is a Shyamalanian twist ending in which Susie finds herself pregnant - with Splashy's spawn!!!

Next up, we have Kittens in the Kitchen, by Ben. M. Baglio:

I think we should all take a moment to repeat aloud the author's name... "Ben Baglio." Good. Anyway, the tagline for this book states, "A week to save the kittens..." Keep that ellipsis in mind, it is important. 

Poopsie and Fluffkins are hot, passionate lovers. Cats, but lovers nonetheless. One day, a miracle happens and Poopsie become pregnant! Both cats are overjoyed. "It seems like just yesterday," Fluffkins proclaimed, "that we met each other in the fern bush. Now, we have a family!" Poopsie smiled at the thought, but could barely hide her shame; she had been seeing the neighbor's cat, Señor Meowmo. She knew she had to tell Fluffkins within the week.

Once the litter had been born, Fluffkins noticed that all the kittens were a different color than he, and that they all kind of resembled Señor Meowmo! He realized what had been going on behind his back and cursed himself for not seeing it sooner. He didn't let on that he knew though. Instead, he made a great kitty nest inside the kitchen for Poopsie and the kittens - inside the oven. "It's really the perfect, warmest spot for our new family." Fluffkins said, slyly. Poopsie agreed and they moved in when the kittens were exactly one week old.

I'm going to spoil the ending here. The last few sentences of the book finish the book's tagline: "Poopsie could have, even should have, told Poopsie her secret. If only she'd been honest, maybe he'd understand. She had a week to save the kittens... but instead they are victims of a crime of 'burning' passion." I feel that the pun there at the end was really in poor taste.

Finally, we have the greatest book cover I've ever come across, The Destroyer: Death Therapy, by Richard Sapir and Warren Murphy. 

I can guarantee that whatever crap I come up with for this cover is nowhere near as awesome as the actual story. I mean, look at that! It's so awesome it needed two writers. This is what is pictured on the cover: a disembodied, floating, giant head; a guy in a suit holding a big, fat guy upside down by the ankles; a hot chick lying on a therapist's couch; three Nazis stripping their clothes off and running from something; and Mr. Miyagi meditating in front of a flower. Okay, here goes.

The Destroyer, the main character, takes a giant hit of acid. He now sees himself as a huge, disembodied head floating around "saving the world," a la Wizard of Oz. The book makes it clear that he didn't get the nickname "The Destroyer" for nothing, which he proves by visiting the local elementary school. This book is interesting because it describes what he is doing in his own mind, and then goes on to explain what he did in reality. Here are a few key scenes:

His Mind: The evil Dr. Fatty-Mc-Balds is plotting to tap into America's power grid and implant a virus that will cause "poison electricity." Although he doesn't know what the heck that is, The Destroyer knows it is bad. And evil. And stuff. So, with superhuman strength, he lifts Dr. Fatty-Mc-Balds up by his ankles and deposits him in some quicksand, where he belongs.

Reality: "The Destroyer" walks into Mrs. Wilkerson's 2nd grade class and see's little Timmy giving a Science Fair presentation on electricity. The Destroyer then proceeds to wreck the experiment, carry Timmy to the cafeteria by his ankles, and toss him directly into that day's lunch - a scalding pot of shepherd's pie. 

His Mind: Three Nazis are in their bunker (which The Destroyer sneaked into) planning to take over London. This is not okay with The Destroyer, so he whips up a handy batch of hydrochloric acid and throws it on the Nazis' coats. Once they start burning, the Nazis start ripping their clothes off and running away. The Destroyer saved the day.

Reality: Three boys are playing in the fort at recess when The Destroyer bumbles in and pisses on them. He then tackles the boys and starts removing their clothes. The three boys then run the eff away. 

His Mind: After a hard day's work of saving the world and what not, The Destroyer goes home, but what's this in his den!? None other than the sexy Boobinski lying on his couch, of course! For the next three hours they make the most passionate love that's ever been conceived. :)

Reality: The Destroyer raped Mrs. Wilkerson. :(

His Mind: After the passion, The Destroyer meditates on the day's events with his personal mentor, Mr. Miyagi. All is well in the world, and zen has been achieved.

Reality: That whole thing was just an acid dream he had while the cops tazed the crap out of him.

That's it, kids! I hope you enjoyed this month's edition of Judging Books by Their Covers! 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thrift Store Adventures: Offensive Shirts!

I usually don't dig through the clothes at thrift stores. Maybe because I know that the stores don't wash any of the clothes that come in. But I should start perusing the clothing section more often, because when I do I find amazing shirts like these - one sacrilegious, one politically insensitive!

This first shirt is absolutely phenomenal. I found it at Goodwill hidden among the various wolf and dreamcatcher shirts that are all the rage this season. I came near the end of the rack and was about to give up hope when I saw this beauty:

Glorious! It has a giant picture of that Jesus guy with a crown of thorns and a bloody wrist. It looks as though he just got down from the cross and is about to say, "Now see here, guys..." The top of the shirt reads "RELIANCE" in red, bloody letters. I could not believe my eyes when I saw this. I figured that since Goodwill is a religious thrift store, this had to be some super creepy, over-the-top religious shirt that some overzealous Christian wore; I AM in the Bible Belt after all.

Then I looked it up and saw that Goodwill has no religious affiliation. And that Reliance is a skateboard brand. So a more likely scenario is that some punk's mom didn't like her son's tasteless shirt and made him donate it to charity where it ultimately ended up in my hands. So I salute you, offended mother!

Although I can see very few situations where this shirt would be appropriate, I DID wear it the day I found it because I would only be seeing close friends that day. But then I forgot what I was wearing. I went to the store on the way to my friends' house and could not understand why everyone was eyeballing me so hard. A group of Mexican guys walked up to me, all intimidating and stuff, and just kinda glared a bit until they reached right in front of me to grab something off the shelf. True story. When I went up to pay I finally realized what I was wearing and it all made sense. This is a dangerous shirt for a skinny white guy.

The next shirt was in the same store, same day.

The reason it caught my eye is because of the KΣ and ΣΦE. That may require some background. When I was a freshman at Baker University in Kansas (a private Methodist school - though I am neither private nor Methodist) I joined a fraternity, Kappa Sigma. Yes, I know, it seems unlikely that I was in a fraternity, but it's true. Anyway, it was a small school and our rival fraternity was Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Our frat had a human skull that had been stolen by the other fraternity (supposedly) so I found this shirt mildly interesting, what with the skull and crossbones and the giant "WANTED" across the top.

Then I looked at the shirt a little closer... Hmm... "America's Most Wanted - September 11, 2002." Some of you may remember an event that happened exactly one year prior to that date - something called the "September 11 attacks."

This can mean one of two things: 1) Osama Bin Laden joined a fraternity to blend in, but got a little over-excited and decided to make shirts about it, or 2) these frat boys are idiots. I want to know who okayed the idea to have a big party on the one-year anniversary of a huge terrorist attack AND make t-shirts with a skull and crossbones to commemorate it. Seems like someone would have given that a second thought. Oh yeah, I'm in Arkansas.

I had other shirts, but they are not nearly as entertaining as those two. So instead, here is a picture illustrating my failure as a primate:

I don't know how I ever evolved. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Thrift Store Adventures: Future Rapist Kid, Plus Other Stuff!

Looking at and interacting with other thrift store patrons is one of the merits of thrift store shopping, as I've mentioned several times. Most of the time, the funny/creepy/trashy ones are shoppers, but this weekend I had an interesting run-in with someone who works at the thrift store.

I went to Kansas over the weekend to see some friends and they mentioned that there is a great thrift store that I need to check out, so we went. They weren't kidding - this place was glorious. All the stuff was awesome but it still smelled and looked like an old lady died there and her cats took over. There was even blood splatters on the restroom door. It's exactly what I look for in a thrift store.

Anyway, there was a little kid working/volunteering at the store, presumably with his mom. He couldn't have been older than 10 years old. So I was checking out this strange picture of a woman breastfeeding, which had been inexplicably placed in the women's clothing section, when the kid walked up to a mannequin I was standing near. He said, "Oh crap, I forgot to make this one look like a rape victim." He then pulled the mannequin's shirt off its shoulder exposing the supple, plastic breast underneath. I then looked around and noticed that there were several mannequins, all of which he had turned into rape victims.

Those poor girls never had a chance.

So that was weird.

Anyway, I found some pretty good stuff at the store. Mostly books. So let's go over a few, shall we?? First up, we have a book called Who Am I? by Lindley Boyer, copyrighted in 1965.

What grabbed my eye about this book is that the title on the spine was in the opposite direction as most books. I opened it up and saw on one of the first pages, "To Hazel, who has taught more babies to read than anybody." What the hell does that mean? When I flipped through, though, I knew I had to have it. I mean, look at this: 

Seems obvious

There are 110 pages of this. There are like 50 words total and it has some of the most awful illustrations you've ever seen. If that's all it takes to get your "work" into books, I am clearly in the wrong profession. It wasn't until I brought the book home that I turned to the very first page and noticed something interesting about the note in the front...

If, for some reason, you can't read the picture, please learn cursive. But it says,

"To Todd - Whose graduation from college I hope to attend.

-Lindley Boyer
Oct. 1965
Chestnut Hill"

It was signed by the author! What a great day in thrift store history! I'm guessing Todd just wasn't that impressed with this gift so he donated it to a thrift store. I don't really blame him. I did a brief Google search on this book but can't really seem to find any information, other than the fact that Chestnut Hill is a college in Pennsylvania. Anyway, I was pretty stoked to find this :)

Next, we have this awesome coloring book from 1969, Zoo Coloring Book.

I love this book for a few reasons: 1) it is pretty old. 42 is pretty ancient for a coloring book, I'd say. 2) None of the pages have been colored or marked, leaving it in pretty decent condition. 3) The pictures in this thing are fucking ridiculous. I really wish I could just post ALL the pictures, but I will spare you guys that and just show my favorite pictures. The artist(s) seemed to have adopted an "eh, good enough" attitude. Check these out:

"Hey, sugarbuns, have a seat here on my long, hard branch ;)"

This koala has the roundest, blankest eyes I've ever seen. But his right eyebrow is raised so it makes me think he just got a sudden whiff of what the vervet monkey up there was laying down. 

... If I ever saw a cheetah that looked like that I would wonder who put magic mushrooms in my sandwich.

These artists have obviously never seen a fox in their lives. 

Yep. That's exactly what I think of whenever I imagine a bison. Hit the nail right on the head on that one.

Looks like they gave the employee with M.S. a shot at drawing a seal. 

Okay, that's all I have in me tonight. I have more fun stuff to go over, but I want to go to bed, so until next time, friends. Sleep tight, don't let the elephant seals bite. Or rapist little kids...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Book Review - Inside UFO 54-40

Remember those Choose Your Own Adventure books where after every page it gave you a choice of what you wanted to do in the story? I remember I tried one once and ended up getting killed, so I got pissed and never tried again. Well folks, today is redemption day, because I just picked up Inside UFO 54-40, a Choose Your Own Adventure book from 1984!

This is the cover. I haven't read the book yet, so I'm going to make a prediction of my outcome in this journey inside UFO 54-40:

See that giant, white probe-like object hurtling through space? Yeah, I'm definitely going to get probed by that thing. Either that, or that Asian girl is really an alien and she's going to probe me with that mini Easter Island statue she's holding, while its father (the bigger Easter Island statue) watches, pervertedly. Also, I am going to try to choose my adventure carefully so that I can get it on with that vagina-lip-bodied spider thing. She's kinda hot. Oh, and see those fluffy ball things floating around the top of the picture? After I bang the spider she's going to roll me up in one of those cocoons so that our love-babies can feast on me when they hatch. That's just my prediction, though. In a day, or however long it takes me to get probed (because really, what else is going to happen on a UFO?), I'm going to report back and review my adventure..............................

*Awesome montage of me reading a children's book*

.................... So I read it. It took a few hours, because I literally went through EVERY ending. The book had WAY less sexy-time than I had predicted. Okay, let me summarize the situation. I was on an airplane when I saw a giant dildo flying through the sky, when suddenly I was transported onto it.

They provide a handy map of the dildo - the airplane is shown for size comparison

The aliens flying the UFO are trying to get to a paradise planet called Ultima, which they have been trying to find for thousands of years. There is another place called Somo where they make you "sleep for a billion years" if you are bad. There are 4 kinds of endings: bad, good, really bad, and really good. Here's how they go: 

Bad: I end up either trapped on the ship for all eternity or die. It is all eternity because on the ship I never age, so really being stuck on the ship is akin to granting me immortality. Not all that bad. But the endings where I die aren't great. 

Good: I get to go back to Earth. Sometimes I forget the whole situation happened, sometimes I learn a lot and get to inform all the Earthlings of my experience. 

Really bad: This ending is available only once, but you get sent to Somo to sleep for a billion years. I don't know about you, but that sounds very relaxing. I'm considering Somo as my next vacation spot after I save up a billion years' worth of PTO. 

Really good: This ending is bullshit because it isn't even really an ending. You literally have to cheat to get this ending. But you go to Ultima and everyone loves you and you can transport to and from Earth whenever you want, blah blah blah. 

My first adventure on the UFO lasted exactly 6 pages before the aliens kicked me off their ship and erased my memory. I don't know if that means I made the right or wrong choices. From then on I kept hearing about how awesome Ultima was, so I had to try every possible scenario until I finally found it. In one ending, I got captured by Russians. I shit you not. In another, I make friends with a furry alien and then try to sell him to the media for $10,000. In my favorite ending, I wake up to a new plateau of wakefulness to find myself reading a Choose Your Own Adventure Book - implying that it was actually me on the UFO. Awesome. 

But alas, there was no Ultima to be found. After I was sure I had exhausted every scenario, I just started going through page by page looking for what I had missed until I found a page I hadn't seen. It said "You did not make a choice, or follow any directions..." and then a bunch of other stuff. I had found Ultima! By cheating!

Looks pretty ritzy. Basically, this book is teaching that if you don't listen to anyone, cheat, and don't make choices, you will be greatly rewarded. Oh well, I did meet some good friends. The sexy spider on the cover, Qally, for instance. I didn't get to impregnate her, though, unfortunately. I also met this:

The way she strokes that rod and the perfect height of her several mouths... Ooh la la. Just look at my face!

Anyway, Final Grade: C+

Friday, July 8, 2011

Vienna Sausage and Green Olive Sandwich!

A coworker had a "Vienna sausage sandwich" for lunch the other day, which I had never heard of. I wasn't so much grossed out by the thought, but more confused because I had never heard of a Vienna sausage sandwich before. She said she just cut the sausages in half and put them on bread with some mayonnaise. I was curious.

I did some Google research and found a single picture of a Vienna sausage sandwich, but it had some green olives on it, so I decided I would come home and try a Vienna sausage and green olive sandwich. I based my recipe solely on what my coworker said and that picture I found on Google images.

I got all my supplies. Instead of mayonnaise, I used light Miracle Whip. I used the light version because if you're going to eat fat, you might as well get the low-fat fat. 

Here is the can of Vienna sausages. They are kind of bunched together and soaking in some kind of juice. 

So I decided to drain them. They remained stuck together. It kind of reminded me of dumping sand from a bucket, or emptying dog food from a can.

I then sliced all the little sausages in half, as I was advised to do by my coworker. 

I put the Miracle Whip on the sandwich. For some reason, any time I have to spread anything onto bread like mayonnaise or peanut butter, I have to spread it all the way to the edges of the bread for a complete spread. Must be the OCD in me.

I laid the half sausages onto their final resting places but had 4 halves left (or two sausages)!

Next up was the placing of the olives. It looks kind of pretty at this point.

The final product: a Vienna sausage and green olive sandwich! This sandwich is probably really unhealthy. I used ten olives, whereas a serving size of these olives is five. I also used seven sausages, which have a serving size of three. Anyway...

I ate it all. It wasn't very good, but halfway through the salty mess I became determined to finish what I'd started. I guess it wasn't TERRIBLE but I can't recommend it to anyone, and anyone thinking of eating this sandwich should probably use less olives. 

Actually, just don't try it. 

After I ate the sandwich I went to the website where I found the picture that I mentioned earlier. I should have actually read what the guy said about it, because 1) it was hilarious, and 2) he said he wished he'd never tried it. I can't claim to have that guy's level of distaste for the sandwich, but it wasn't awesome.

Final Grade: D+

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Thrift Store Adventures: Panic Button!

This is one of my favorite thrift store finds as of late. This is the Panic Button - The Personal Protection Alarm For Street and Home Use:

Copyrighted in 1979, the Panic Button's packaging has huge amounts of graphic design and sex appeal. It seriously looks like a Dracula movie poster or something. Look at that awesome font and the dude cowering in the lower left corner. I'd totally go see Panic Button in theaters. 

The inside of the box doesn't get any less awesome either:

Is this a personal protection device or a work of art? I will display this! Okay, okay, I digress. The product was made by Clairol, the same company who makes hair dyes and stuff. I had no idea they made things other than hair products, so I checked out their website; I guess the Panic Button didn't do that well, because it is not listed on their website's product list (big surprise) nor can I find ANY information about it online. From what I've gathered, you are supposed to carry it with you in case you get attacked and press the "Panic Button." The button won't turn off unless you put in the correct combination on two dials on the top of the device (which I realized after testing it and having to remove the battery). I will demonstrate below. 

But first, this is very exciting! I JUST NOW read that there is a "battery included" and "door alarm attachment located in tray underneath!" I have had this thing sitting in my house for weeks and I was disappointed because the "Enclosed Street and Home Protection Booklet" was nowhere to be found! Okay, I'm about to look underneath...

Success!!! I practically had to disassemble the package to find this stuff, but it's all there! I'm not sure what it says about me that I'm so excited about this, but right now I don't care. I'm thrifty ecstasy. Here's what I just found:
  • Panic Button user's manual: this document is basically what you would expect. It has some pretty pictures and describes each of the Panic Button's features. The booklet does, however, make a point that feeling, looking, and acting self confident is, in itself, an element of crime prevention. And how could you NOT feel, look, and act confident carrying this bulky, black, plastic alarm!?
  • Battery: the battery is from the 70's and therefore super old. I would have taken it out and tried it in the Panic Button but all the battery acid leaked out, leaving the battery corroded onto the plastic.
  • Door Alarm: This attachment allows you to booby trap any door. I would just use it to prank my friends/family/random people and not give them the code to turn it off.
  • How to Protect Yourself and Your Property booklet: This is from the NYPD. It is full of general safety tips. I briefly thumbed through it and my favorite tip is, "If a person is following you, RUN AND SCREAM." I will definitely try that next time I am walking through the mall.
  • Cards:

  • Nothing too interesting, but the card on the middle right that simply reads, "The Police Department does not in any manner endorse or warrant the suitability of any product received with this booklet." There's also a "Full One Year Warranty" card that I intend to send in.
Obviously, I needed to try out my newly acquired Panic Button, and since the battery provided is 32 years old and covered in acid I decided to take one from my smoke detector. I am fully confident that my duplex mate now hates me because not only did I test the loud ass Panic Button and couldn't figure out how to turn it off, but I also tested the smoke detector to make sure the battery worked - and I couldn't figure out how to turn it off, either. I then looked at the tags attached to the Button, and saw that there is a code on the inside of the device which I can use to turn off the alarm. 

The inside of the device looks like this:

I don't generally see a product's electrical circuitry when I'm inserting its batteries, but then again, I don't usually mess around with 70's electronics. I then reassembled the Button and made a video so you guys can see and hear the Panic Button in action!

As you can see, even knowing my code, it took a while to dial it in and get that thing to shut up. In conclusion, this has been one of my favorite Thrift Store Adventures yet! I'm happy I found all that secret stuff halfway through writing this post. :)

I probably shouldn't have taken a picture of my secret code, though. Now, if he reads my blog, my future rapist will be able to turn off my Panic Button with ease and have his filthy, filthy way with me...