Oct 31, 2020

A Blue Moon On Halloween


Once In A Blue Moon
Pennsylvania Lottery (1990)
The pack of ticket samples that I got on eBay back in August included about 40 different games.  Some of them were more familiar to me than others.  If there was one ticket pictured in the auction that inspired me to go ahead and buy the lot, it was this one.  I'm not sure why I have such a strong memory of it.  Maybe my family just happened to buy more of these, or maybe they hit big on one.  I don't know.  However, I do know that as soon as I saw it, the memories of seeing these sitting on top of my grandparent's microwave came flooding back to me.

Because I have such a strong memory of this ticket, I was going to share it right away, but I thought it would be cool to post it on the date of the next astronomical Blue Moon, which happens to be tonight, on Halloween.

Source: EarthSky.org - Photo taken by Priya Kumar on August 31, 2012
The lunar cycle gives us a Full Moon once every 29 to 30 days.  The term Blue Moon is used to describe the second full moon to occur in the same month.  It's a fairly rare occurrence.  This is the 17th Blue Moon to take place during my lifetime, and only the 9th of the millennium so far.

A Blue Moon on Halloween night is extremely rare.  It hasn't happened since 1974, and it won't happen again until 2039.  You might want to take a moment tonight to stare up at the night sky.  I know I will be, and I'll be reflecting on the fact that my life, and the very world that I inhabit, is merely a speck of dust on a speck of dust in the vastness of time and space.  Kinda puts the whole Covid-19 thing in perspective.

Oct 30, 2020

Halloween Candy


Mary Anne Shea (1982)
John Candy was born on Halloween, 1950.  He would have turned 70 years old tomorrow.  No word on what he thought of Ms. Shea's artwork.  [source: Chrome & Lightning]

Oct 29, 2020

A Vampire Cheetah With Cheese Skeletons



Cheetos Bag Of Bones
Frito Lay (2020)
I'm happy to see that snack companies are still creating fun Halloween artwork and cardboard displays for their mascots and products.  It's little things like this that help make the season fun.
  

Oct 28, 2020

Kennedy At The Altamont


John F. Kennedy Campaign
Broad Street - Hazleton, PA (1960)
Sixty years ago today, JFK stopped in front of the Hotel Altamont to speak to the people of Hazleton while on the campaign trail.  An estimated 12,000 people packed the streets and stood at the windows of the Bon Ton across the street to hear Kennedy's speech.  My grandparents are in this crowd somewhere with my dad in a stroller, despite the fact that my grandmother never once voted in an election and my grandfather supported Richard Nixon.

Eleven days after this speech, Kennedy would win Pennsylvania and become the 35th President of the United States.  You can see the old Capitol Theater on the left hand side.  It's a little eerie to see the words "murder" and "killer"visible on the marquee.  Three years and one month after this photo was published in the Standard Speaker newspaper, Kennedy would be assassinated.

Oct 27, 2020

The Bonaventure Boulevard Church Of Christ



He's not wrong.  You could get lost for hours wandering through the 3D walkthrough of this Kentucky house.  It's a former church building that became a warehouse home for a hoarder with an eBay store.  According to the CBS News affiliate in that area, a few thousand items were found in this building that were stolen from Kroger and Target, but the house is still loaded with everything you can possibly imagine (including a few pretty creepy things).

The oddities don't stop with the ridiculous amount of merchandise.  You really have to see for yourself how bizarre building itself is.  It includes side-by-side toilets, a massive bathtub room (just past a huge rack of Girls Gone Wild DVD and up a few carpeted stairs), urinals with shag carpeting, and a ridiculous amount of music, video games, all watched over by a mysterious cat who I am starting to believe is the true owner of the property.


I'm tempted to put together a list of items as a scavenger hunt.  For now, see if you can find the Finger Soccer, the Spring Tokyo Barbie and the framed photo of the doppelgangers.

Oct 26, 2020

Ace Slime, Dan Fielding



Show Time TV Listings
Standard Speaker (October 26 to November 1, 1986)
This is the local tv guide booklet that used to come with the Saturday edition of the Standard Speaker newspaper when I was a kid.  I found it a few years ago at Black Diamond before it closed, and I couldn't pass up an old tv guide from my hometown with John Larroquette on the cover.

I didn't scan the entire thing, but have a look at some of the stories, ads and listings of shows that were on 34 years ago this week, back when there were only about 20 channels.














Oct 25, 2020

It Ain't Easy Being Mac 'N Cheesy


Cheetos Mac 'N Cheese
Frito-Lay (2020)
This totally lived up to my expectations.  It has just enough Cheetos flavor to be cheesy and delicious without being overpowering.

Oct 24, 2020

I Want To Be A Trick Or Treat Kid



Toys R' Us (1990)
Thirty years ago, Toys R' Us gave away a little trick-or-treat sample box that was filled with candy.  Based on this ad, I'm thinking it was Mars and Wonka products.

Oct 23, 2020

Klaatu Barada Nikto


Joe Bob's Halloween Hideaway
Shudder (2020)
They haven't announced the movies yet, but I'm getting a real Evil Dead vibe from the poster.

Oct 22, 2020

The Day Babe Came To Town

From left to right: Dutch Ruether, Babe Ruth, Jack Scott, Jack Tee and Harry Hesse (Oil City, PA 10/27/1923)
Babe Ruth
October 22, 1923
Cranberry Ballpark - Hazleton, PA
Hazleton doesn't have too many claims to fame, but if you were to talk to someone from the area about something significant in our town's history, there's a good chance that they're going to mention the day that Babe Ruth came to town.

Back in the days before below-average middle relievers signed contracts for six million dollars, some players would supplement their income by barnstorming small towns across the country to play local teams in front of fans who probably have only ever heard them play on the radio.  Babe Ruth was especially fond of going on barnstorming tours during the off-season, and 97 years ago today, he brought a team to play an exhibition game at the old Cranberry Ballpark in Hazleton.

In the fall of 1923, Babe brought a team to Hazleton that included starting pitcher Dutch Ruether.  The lefty was a member of the World Champion Cincinnati Reds in 1919 (the World Series in which the infamous Black Sox scandal occurred).  At the time, Ruether was a member of the Brooklyn Robins (Dodgers).  He played alongside Ruth for barnstorming tours, but he would also go on to become a teammate of Ruth on the 1926 and 1927 Yankees.  The other pitcher on the team was New York Giants knuckeballer Jack Scott.  Scott pitched against Ruth's Yankees in the World Series just a few weeks before this exhibition game in Hazleton.  Scott's career would include the 1927 season with the Phillies where, on June 19th, he pitched two complete games in a single day, going 1-1 in both games of a double header against the Cincinnati Reds.  The other two players on Ruth's traveling team did not appear in the Major Leagues during their careers.  First baseman Harry Hesse was a member of the Hartford Senators of the Eastern League, and catcher Jack Tee played for the Jersey City Skeeters of the International League.  Ruth's team was rounded out by four local players: Brogan and Fichter (Beaver Meadows), Cooper (Jeanesville) and Fredericks (Hazleton).

While there are no known photos of the day that Babe Ruth came to town, there are quite a few newspaper articles, including a few which noted that the coal mines suspended operations at noon, and local schools let out early so that everyone could go to the game.

Hazleton fielded a team of locals to play against Babe Ruth's barnstormers, and they managed to defeat Ruth's team by a score of 4-0.  While it may have been a shock that a bush league team shut out a team that included the greatest hitter who ever lived and a pitcher whose team just won the World Series, it was an even bigger shock that Hazleton's starting pitcher, Nick Mondero, struck Babe Ruth out twice.  Nick would go on to have a 12 year minor league career, most of which he spent pitching under the name of Nick Harrison.

The Plain Speaker had quite a bit more to say about the exhibition game. I've sorted the rest of the write ups into categories. Click on the links below to read them.

Oct 21, 2020

Dracula Eats Vampires


Drac-Snax Monster Candy
Topps (1970's)
They don't make 'em like this anymore.  The Drac-Snax were a little before my time, but if it's like the rest of the sugar candy that Topps made into the 1980's, they're were a sweet, chalky candy that didn't vary much in flavor regardless of what color you were eating.  The real attraction here is the artwork and the designs of each candy, which you can see on the back of the wrapper which comes from the collection of Jason Liebig.  Kids in the 70's could munch on monster bats, vampires, werewolves, gravestones, and Fred - the man without a head.

Oct 20, 2020

Lucky Shops At The Mega Lo Mart


Tom Petty
Photo by Mark Seliger
The leader of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers is one of my favorite musicians of all time.  He passed away a little over three years ago, and would have turned 70 years old today.  Happy birthday, sir, and thank you for all of the awesome music.

Oct 19, 2020

Frankenstein's Guacamole


Boris Karloff's Guacamole Recipe
Los Angeles Times (March 23, 1967)
Matt from Dinosaur Dracula recently shared the famous Boris Karloff recipe for guacamole, and he tested the recipe out with positive results.  I'm going to have to give this a shot for Halloween.  Maybe I'll even give that scalloped potatoes emergency dish a try.

Oct 18, 2020

The Realmuto Deal

source: David Miaialetti (Philadelphia Inquirer)

It wasn't that long ago that the Phillies acquired J.T. Realmuto from the Miami Marlins.  It was February 7th, 2019.  Not long afterward, the Phillies signed Bryce Harper to an unprecedented 13 year contract, and with Realmuto locked up for the next two seasons, it looked as if the Phillies would bookend the decade as National League East Champions.

It didn't work out that way.  In fact, they weren't even close.

The Phillies finished the 2019 season with a .500 record, and they fared even worse in 2020 with a record of 28-32.  With injuries to the starting rotation and the second worst bullpen of the past hundred years, they would have likely finished in dead last if not for the fact that the season was shortened by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Now, J.T. Realmuto is a free agent, and it has been reported by Todd Zolecki that he's looking for a contract in the $200 million dollar range.  When you consider the fact that the Phillies will not spend above the Luxury Tax threshold, and when you consider the more pressing needs of the team if they hope to compete in the years ahead, this spells the end of Realmuto's time in Philadelphia.  With that being said, it's time to take off the rose colored glasses and examine the reality of the situation.



The Miami Marlins won the trade.

I was as happy as anyone in Philadelphia when it was announced that the Phillies made a trade to bring J.T. Realmuto to town.  This wasn't the first time the Phillies made a "win now" move by trading young pitching talent for an established star.  At the 2009 deadline, they sent Carlos Carrasco, Lou Marson and two prospects to Cleveland for Cliff Lee.  Later that winter, they traded a group that included Kyle DrabekTravis d'Arnaud and one other prospect to Toronto for Roy Halladay.  At the 2010 deadline, they traded J.A. Happ, Anthony Gose and Jonathan Villar to the Astros for Roy Oswalt.  At the following year's deadline, they made another trade with the Astros, sending Jarred Cosart, Jonathan Singleton, Domingo Santana and one other prospect to Houston for Hunter Pence.

While some of these prospects didn't pan out (particularly Drabek and Singleton), the Phillies traded away valuable talent in each of these deals.  Carlos Carrasco and J.A. Happ were successful pitchers throughout the decade.  Travis d'Arnaud bounced around the league for a bit and has had an excellent 2020 as the starting catcher for the NL East Champion Atlanta Braves.  Guys like Anthony Gose, Jonathan Villar and Domingo Santana may not have become household names, but they've had respectable careers after being traded away by the Phillies.  The one thing that each of these trades had in common was that they brought established stars to a contending Phillies team, and they helped the Phillies win the NL East Championship in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

The same cannot be said for the J.T. Realmuto trade.  Not only did his acquisition not help the Phillies to win their division, but the men that they traded away helped a division rival to pass Philadelphia and secure a spot in the post-season.  There are two important differences between the 2009-2011 trades and the 2019 J.T. Realmuto trade.
  1. The Phillies were a "win now" team making "win now" trades in 2009-2011.  The 2019-2020 Phillies were not a "win now" team.

  2. The prospects that were traded away in the 2009-2011 trades were very good, but not great.  Sixto Sanchez has the makings of a great pitcher.
Whether or not the Phillies re-sign their star catcher is irrelevant to the discussion of who won this trade.  Had they locked him up to an extension in February 2019, it could be argued that the exclusive negotiating rights, and therefore the extension, were part of the return that the Phillies received when they traded Sixto Sanchez and Jorge Alfaro to Miami.  However, that didn't happen.  If the Phillies do retain Realmuto's services, it will be a free agent signing on the open market like any other, and they will have to outbid the rest of the league to keep him.  If they were satisfied with that arrangement, they could have just kept Sixto Sanchez and Jorge Alfaro and waited for Realmuto to become a free agent after the 2020 season.

Even if this trade was 2 years of Sixto Sanchez for 2 years of J.T. Realmuto straight up, at even money salaries, I would still say that the Miami Marlins were the winners of this trade.  All of the hyperbole about "the best catcher in baseball" doesn't change the fact that Sixto led his team to the post-season while J.T. led his team to a .500 and sub-.500 season.  If the 2020 Phillies had Sixto Sanchez in the rotation instead of J.T. Realmuto behind the plate, it doesn't take a lot of imagination to believe that the Phillies would have been in the 2020 playoffs instead of the Marlins.

Now, consider that Sixto is under team control with the Marlins through the end of the 2025 season.  Regardless of where J.T. Realmuto plays in 2021, there is no valid argument to suggest that this was an "even" trade, or a trade the Phillies should have made in hindsight.  The Marlins did more than simply win this trade.  I believe when both of their careers have reached their conclusion, people won't look back on the 2019 swap as the Realmuto trade.  They will call it the Sixto Sanchez trade, and it will sit alongside the Ferguson Jenkins trade as one of the most lop-sided losses in the history of the Philadelphia Phillies.



The Phillies should not re-sign J.T. Realmuto

If the situation were different, I would say that the Phillies should absolutely enter the winter of 2020 with the top priority of keeping their star catcher in Philadelphia.  That certainly is what many of the fans and podcasters have been saying.  It's the same song they always sing when this type of situation comes up: "billionaire owners are being cheap", and "if they cared about winning, they'd sign him", and "it's not my money, so pay him whatever he wants".  Of course, it's complete nonsense.  The Phillies had the 5th highest payroll in all of baseball, but the chronic complainers who have never run a business in their lives insist on spending their winters having a long, drawn out temper tantrum on par with an ill behaved child in the toy store whose mother refuses to buy a new bike for their precious little darling.

It's even more absurd when you see how these fans react to a team like the Tampa Bay Rays going to the World Series.  They had the fourth lowest payroll in all of baseball and defeated a New York Yankees team who had the highest payroll in baseball, approximately 200 percent higher than the Rays.  It's no fluke, by the way.  The Rays were a much better team during the regular season, finishing with the best record in the American League, and they sent the Yankees home in ALDS in convincing fashion.  These same fans argue that we shouldn't celebrate the fact that the Rays won with such a small payroll, and that we should instead admonish their front office for not spending more (and they'll no doubt lose their collective minds tonight if the Braves overcome the free spending Dodgers).  It's an foolish argument, and once again, it comes from men and women who have never run a business in their lives.  If they had, they would never take such an asinine position.  To the men and women who invest money in running a team, baseball isn't a hobby.  It's a business.  If a business owner finds a way to defeat their competition while spending less than half of the money they do, they are doing things right.  Fans can cry all they want about how the owners are "greedy billionaires", but it's not greed by any reasonable definition of the word.  It's smart business, and it's one of the reasons that the team owners became billionaires while the complaining fans have not.

You can try to talk sense to these people, just like the mother tries to talk sense to their whining child, but it falls on deaf ears as the child screams and cries in protest.  The child, like the fan, is unable or unwilling to see the big picture.  Their only concern is that their demands aren't being met.  They want their shiny new toy.  They feel entitled to it, and the temper tantrum will continue until they get what they want, or until they've tuckered themselves out and are left pouting in the corner.

For fans who can see the situation holistically, here are many reasons the Phillies should pass on Realmuto at even half of the $200 million asking price.
  1. The Phillies will not go over the luxury tax threshold.  Period.  End of story.  Any discussion about the Phillies front office that does not begin with this understanding is not worth having. 

  2. The Phillies 2021 payroll target will likely be significantly less than 2019 and 2020.  Fans will argue against this until they're blue in the face, but calling the front office "cheap" is so laughably childish that it warrants no response at all.  They had the fifth highest payroll in baseball, and they're coming off of a season with zero fans in attendance.  The fans in the ballpark make up as much as 40% of a team's revenue.  Additionally, there appears to be no end in sight for the Covid-19 pandemic, so the most optimistic thing you can say about gate revenue in 2021 is that it's a question mark.  Fans will cry that the owners are billionaires who can afford to spend millions of dollars on a business without knowing what the return on investment will be.  However, these owners didn't become billionaires by needlessly risking millions of dollars when there's very little chance of that risk paying off.  Fans can complain all they want, but if it was their money at risk, they wouldn't spend it either.

  3. Even if the Phillies maintained the same payroll that they had in 2021, it is questionable at best to spend $200 million dollars on a 30 year old catcher who spent the last two weeks of the season on the bench with nagging injuries.  It's even more questionable when you consider that your backup catcher, who calls a fantastic game, had a career year at the plate in 2020.  I've heard the argument made that if the National League adopts the designated hitter rule full time, it could keep Realmuto in the lineup when he's no longer able to catch.  That may be true, but if they're resigned to using him a DH, they can get a much better hitter for $200 million than J.T. Realmuto.  Although there are exceptions to the rule, catchers do not tend to age gracefully.  If someone gives him the years and dollars he's looking for, I suspect it will be an albatross on the level of the 2010 Ryan Howard extension.

  4. One of the most overused cliches is that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results.  Dedicating a significant percentage of the team's budget to Realmuto may not be insane, but it doesn't seem like a particularly good idea in light of the team's needs.  The Phillies have had J.T. behind the plate for two seasons and have gotten one .500 season and one losing season out of it.  That's certainly not Realmuto's fault, but it does highlight the fact that having him is not the key to the playoffs that we all hoped it would be.  To paraphrase what Branch Rickey once told Ralph Kiner, we missed the playoffs with you, we can miss the playoffs without you.  J.T. Realmuto may be the best catcher in the game, but the 2021 Phillies don't need the best catcher in the game to be competitive.  They need a bullpen that isn't historically awful.  They need two starting pitchers.  They need to re-sign or replace Didi Gregorius in the infield.  They could also use a center fielder and leadoff hitter more than an All-Star catcher.  Even if they maintain the same payroll in 2021, they won't come close to being able to afford to address each of these issues if they pay Realmuto what he's asking.  We've seen what that looks like, and it's not pretty.

  5. If the Phillies were actually contenders in their division, as they were from 2006 - 2012, I could overlook the fact that he's 30 and that his best years as a catcher are likely behind him.  I could ignore the fact that he would cost far more than he's worth, in dollars and in years, and that by the end of the contact, we'd likely be looking at a $30 million dollar below average DH.  However, as much as I hate to admit it, this team is not a contender.  They are not one key player away from reaching the World Series.  They're a closer, two starting pitchers, at least four relief pitchers, a shortstop, a center fielder and a leadoff hitter away from even coming close to battling the Braves for the NL East.  Signing J.T. Realmuto is a "win now" move, and they are not a "win now" team.  Their roster has major questions with no answers, and their farm has been stripped to the bone.  They've found themselves in a dangerous territory where they have too much talent to be a rebuilding team, and too little talented to be a serious threat in the division.
So, what is the answer then?  I don't know.  What I do know is that as good of a catcher as J.T. Realmuto has been in his career, the man can't pitch and he can't stop the team from blowing leads.  If your refrigerator is broken, you don't solve the problem by going out and getting the best microwave money can buy.  Andrew Knapp may not be as good as J.T. Realmuto.  He doesn't have to be if the team spreads the money that they would have spent on Realmuto around to address their needs in the bullpen and the back end of the rotation.  It won't solve all of the Phillies problems, but it would be a good start.

Oct 17, 2020

Hell's Kitchen Is Toxic Country


The Toxic Avenger
Hell's Kitchen, New York (1986)
This sign was on the side of the Troma Inc. building in 1986 to promote the upcoming release of The Toxic Avenger (photo source: John Brennan).

Oct 16, 2020

Green Colored Creme?


Reese's Peanut Butter Franken-Cup
Hershey (2020)
I'm not sure what to make of the new Franken-Cup from Hershey.  They look pretty cool, but they don't taste much different than a regular Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.  The package describes the product as having "green colored creme", but I'm not sure what flavor it's meant to have, or if it's even supposed to taste any different than a cup that doesn't have a green bottom.

When I tasted these, I found that the chocolate and peanut butter flavor overpowered the "green colored creme", so I did a little confection surgery to separate the two halves and try to figure out what the green flavor is supposed to be.


I believe this is the same coating that Hershey uses on their White Reese's Peanut Butter Cup with green food coloring added.  It doesn't have a mint or lime or any other distinct flavor that I was able to detect.  It tastes sweet, but that's pretty much it.

The description of "green colored creme" is, in my opinion, a result of the ridiculous over-regulation of the word "chocolate' on food packaging.  In years past, products like this would simply have been called "white chocolate", or in this case "green chocolate".  People would all know what they're buying, and no one would feel cheated because the amount of cocoa butter didn't meet FDA regulations for the standard of identity.  However, in recent years, food companies have had to engage in semantic gymnastics to describe a product that is white chocolate for all intent and purposes, but without using the dreaded "c" word.  The result is ridiculous descriptions like "green chocolate creme".

I wanted to like these Franken-Cups, but there's just not much here to see.  They taste like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.  They look kind of cool, I guess.  I can't really put my finger on why these aren't clicking with me, but they're not.

Oct 15, 2020

Schottzie's Collar


Schottzie's Collar
Cincinnati Reds (1990)
When I first saw this baseball oddity, the person who posted it thought it was a pro wrestling title belt made to commemorate the World Series Championship that the Cincinnati Reds won thirty years ago.  He was half right.  It was commissioned in 1990 by Reds owner Marge Schott and made to look like the championship rings from her team's sweep of the Oakland Athletics in the Fall Classic, but it's not a belt.  It's a dog collar that was made for her beloved Saint Bernard, Schottzie, and it's on display in the Cincinnati Reds Hall Of Fame Museum (photo credits: Sean Ross Sapp and Mike Selock).

I'm not the biggest fan of Ms. Schott, but while she was a heavily flawed human being, no one could ever say that she didn't love her big furry friend.

Schottzie - Cincinnati Reds mascot (1982-1991)

Oct 14, 2020

Hot As A Warm October Day



Spicy Chicken McNuggets
McDonald's (2020)
These aren't going to set the world on fire, but they're not bad.  On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd put the level of hotness at around a 2 or 3 at most, but if they're not spicy enough for you, I'm told they offer a spicy dipping sauce.  I can't say if it's any good, because although I asked for it at the drive thru, I was given the spicy mustard dipping sauce instead.  Joe Pesci was right.

Oct 13, 2020

He Was No Average Joe



Joe Morgan
1943-2020
This year cannot end soon enough.

We're not even two weeks into October and three of the greatest baseball players of all-time have passed away: Bob Gibson on the 2nd, Whitey Ford on the 8th, and Joe Morgan this past Sunday.  All told, we have lost six Hall Of Famers this year, with the death of Al Kaline in April, Tom Seaver in August, and Lou Brock in September.

Joe Morgan was regarded by many as the greatest second basemen to ever play the game.  He had a 21 year playing career that began with the Houston Colt 45's in 1963 and ended with the Oakland Athletics in 1984.  Morgan was a ten time All-Star who is best known as a member of the Cincinnati Reds Big Red Machine of the 1970's.  He won back-to-back World Series Championships and National League MVP Awards in 1975 and '76.  Following his retirement as an active player in 1984, he started working as a broadcaster.  This second career lasted for over 25 years, which combined with his playing career equals nearly a half century of work in Major League Baseball.  Morgan was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on his first ballot in 1990.

Morgan's time in Philadelphia was brief, but memorable.  The Phillies acquired him in a trade with the San Francisco Giants in the winter prior to the 1983 season.  There, he reunited with Big Red Machine teammates Pete Rose and Tony Perez and helped lead the Phillies to the 1983 World Series.

Rest in peace, Mr. Morgan.

Oct 12, 2020

Vampire Kisses


Hershey's Kisses: Vampire
Hershey (2020)
For a little while in the late 90's, my dad and I both lived at my grandparents house.  During that time, Dad and used to watch WWF Raw every Monday night at 9:00.  This was during the Attitude Era - a time when "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and The Rock were at the highest points of their pro wrestling careers.  At this point, you may be asking yourself what any of this has to do with Hershey Kisses that came out over 20 years later.  Stick with me... I'm getting to that.

The Rock was more famous for the way he talked than the way he wrestled.  It's not that he was bad in the ring; he was just phenomenal on the microphone.  When he spoke, The Rock referred to himself exclusively in the third person, and he referred to nearly everyone else as a "jabroni".  He had dozens of catch phrases that inspired sold out arenas to shout them in unison, but the one that my dad seemed to like best is when The Rock said he was going to kick someone's "rudy poo candy ass".  This gave my dad the idea for a type of hard candy or lollipop that is shaped like a butt.  It's been over two decades and he still believes this is an idea that would have made millions of dollars.

I wasn't as fascinated with an ass-shaped confection as my dad, but his idea did lead to an impromptu brainstorming session where we watched Raw and came up with different ideas for new candy products.  My best one was to make a chocolate bar in the shape of a bat that was filled with cherry or strawberry cream.  Everyone who bought it could then bite the head off of the bat and watch the red filling ooze down.  This bar would, of course, be called Ozzy.  I was as enamored with this idea as my dad was of his own.  It would appeal a wide variety of people, from children and their parents who would buy it as a spooky Halloween treat to multiple generations of metalheads who grew up listening to Black Sabbath and Ozzy.  I'm sure Sharon would sue me six ways from Sunday, so I'd either have to come up with some agreement to share the profits, or find a creative way to name and market the product without infringing on any trademarks or copyrights (hell, it worked for Baby Ruth).  I did end up spending time working for a candy company, but alas, I was not in a position to give candy asses or chocolate bats to the world.  However, Hershey has released a new Halloween candy that is as close to my Ozzy bar that I've found.  They're called Vampire Kisses.


Actually, they're just called Hershey's Kisses and the flavor is Vampire, but how freakin' cool is it to call them Vampire Kisses!  That's the best name for a Halloween candy I've ever heard of.  And just look at that strawberry creme!  It is the perfect shade of blood red from a monster movie.  Put this cream inside of little chocolate bats and I guarantee that millions of people would spend Halloween biting off their heads and watching the blood filling drip down their chin.  It's a candy that's just begging to be produced in the age of Instagram.

The Vampire Kisses are very good.  You really can't beat Hershey's milk chocolate, and the strawberry creme is sweet and flavorful.  I hope this becomes an annual Halloween product.  It beats the hell out of candy corn.

Oct 11, 2020

Happiness Is A Full Treat Bag


Peanuts Halloween Stickers (1989)
This sheet of stickers was recently scanned and shared by @TanookiKuribo.  I never knew Snoopy was part of the devout followers of The Great Pumpkin.

Oct 10, 2020

Double, Double, Toil And... Marshmallow


Kit Kat: Witch's Brew
Hershey (2020)
Hershey has finally taken notice of the success that Nestle has had in Japan with flavored Kit Kat bars.  They haven't quite reached the peak craziness of the Far East where Kit Kats come in flavors such as Baked Potato, Rock Salt and Corn, but the Witch's Brew flavor is definitely a step in that direction.


I love the phrase "snack size" when it's used on things like candy.  It's a Kit Kat.  What else would it be if it wasn't a snack... meal size?  Also, is it just me or does that witch have a Frankenstein vibe?



The candy itself is a pale green that reminds me of the color of a plastic glow-in-the-dark toy.  Thankfully, they don't taste like plastic.  They're meant to taste like marshmallow, they definitely do.  The flavor and texture remind me of Rice Krispies Treats, but without the unpleasantness of feeling like you're gnawing on a small gummy brick that the cereal-based snack tends to leave me with.  I could see these coming back for Easter with a rabbit on the package in place of the witch.  They really should because they're excellent.