Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Mister Rogers Theme Park Ride

At Idlewild Amusement Park in Ligonier Pennsylvania there is a most interesting ride. It's the Mister Rogers' Neighborhood of Make Believe attraction. The ride is a one of a kind experience that opened in 1989.

I loved Fred Rogers. I found him to be such a genuine "good guy" that I thoroughly enjoy watching his old show whenever I flip past it.

So, I made a trip Idlewild. A rather tame park, one would certainly find it more "idle" than "wild."

Forgive me as I pause to admire my own wittiness.


Anyhoo, the park is an enjoyable place to spend a day. The highlight for me was, as expected, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood of Make Believe.

Outside the ride, a sign shows pictures of the set construction and information regarding Fred Rogers and his input on the attraction:

If you would like to read the sign click here.

The ride starts aboard a full size "trolley"

You go through the tunnel into the Neighborhood of Make Believe. On the walls of the tunnel you can see "hello" written in many languages (similar to It's a Small World.)

Our first stop is at the castle where we are greeted by King Friday the XIII.

Friday and the other characters are animatronic, and not exactly state of the art. Sorta like Chuck E. Cheese's band, only they don't rock to "Pepperoni in Paradise" every 30 minutes. But they would like to.

And, honestly, who wouldn't.

The King greets the Trolley, us and our guide. She interacts with him timing her voice to the playback of Fred Rogers' recorded voice.

King Friday invites us to a "Hug and Song" party where we will sing and hug.

I look around the Trolley and to my delight there are at least a dozen HOT SINGLE MOMS on the Trolley.

The Trolley of Love.

I can't wait for the Hug and Song.

Friday then instructs us to invite everyone else.

Wouldn't it be funny if I meant JOE Friday, rather than King Friday.

"This is the neighborhood, the neighborhood of Make Believe. My name is Friday, I wear a badge."

Our next stop is Cornflake S. Pecially's shop.

I hated Corny as a kid. I have no idea why, but he irritated the heck out of me.

Even today I harbor a bit of a grudge. So I scowl at him as he tells us about his rocking chairs and says he will come to the "Hug and Song."

I make a mental note not to hug him.

Next we visit Dr. Bill Platypus and Elsie Jean Platypus. They seem to live in the Trash Heap from Fraggle Rock. I didn't remember that growing up.

What kind of college give a doctorate to a Platypus anyway? I doubt even the smartest platypus could make it through medical school.

Unless he has a degree in podiatry. That would make more sense.

They agree to come. So we move on to Lady Elaine Fairchilde at the Museum Go Round.

Lady Elaine was also not a favorite of Lil' Sweetie. Still, I didn't mind her as much as Corney because her "Museum Go Round" reminded me of the Carousel of Progress at Walt Disney World.

Elaine is playing with her "boomerang toomerang soomerang." She says she might be "too busy" to come to the party. Deep down inside I am overjoyed.

Another stop takes us to X the Owl and Henrietta Pussycat. Sorry, but I could not get a picture before they went back into their doors.

Trust me they were there.

"My name is Friday, I wear a badge. Where were the Owl and the Pussycat last seen? Is there any connection between them and that Barbara Streisand movie?"

Daniel Striped Tiger is next:

He is so cute that he garnered an "awww" from the guests after almost each line he spoke.

Daniel is glad to be invited and says he will take "a shortcut" and meet us there. The shortcut line is clever, because as a kid I remembered other rides where characters appeared twice with no explanation as to how they PASSED our vehicle without us seeing them. Great touch.

The final stop before we get to the party is the castle's playground. Here Prince Tuesday is hanging out with Ana Platypus.

The kid next to me asked his mom if Tuesday and Ana are "boyfriend and girlfriend."

She said yes.

He then said "A person can date a duck?"

Mom said "Sure."

I smiled. I am definitely hugging this chick at the Hug and Song. She is up for ANYTHING!

After leaving the new power couple I call "Anasday" we head to the castle.

Finally, we get to party! Everyone is here...

OH MY GOD! Lady Elaine never showed! She spurned the King's royal invite! What a BIT-

Never mind.

She was just late.

King Friday announces that we can hug "whomever we want to hug" as we sing "It's such a good feeling."

I hugged the chick who was down with interspecies dating for about 25 seconds.

Then we all went back into the tunnel where the word "goodbye" is written in many languages.

In the language of the Love Trolley goodbye is spelled "I am leaving you for a Platypus. A rich platypus."

The ride was really well done. The animatronics weren't too impressive, but this was not a ride designed to "wow" you. It was definitely a healthy dose of nostalgia.

Afterward I headed into the gift shop where they had more Mister Rogers stuff than I have ever seen for sale anywhere.

I bought a Mister Rogers DVD and a Daniel Striped Tiger puppet. I should have gone with a platypus puppet. Babes really dig them I hear.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Wasting time with Caesar

Some deals are too good to pass up.

Early in 2006 I heard that 20th Century Fox was releasing every Planet of the Apes thing they could find on a super-mega DVD boxed set.

The set included all the old Apes flicks (and the pathetic Tim Burton film,) every episode of the Planet of the Apes TV series and every episode of the Apes cartoon.

This seemed interested. But, what was REALLY interesting was the DVD case:
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Whoa boy! A very well made, and almost full sized ape head. His name is Caesar, and while I have yet to figure out which film Caesar is in, Caesar is my favorite character in the whole series.

I even made Caesar a myspace.com page

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Caesar is from Afton, Oklahoma.

Get it?

No, not unless you live there. Then you would laugh and laugh. See, that's where "Monkey Island" is located.

The other jokes are not really that "inside."

Caesar's Blurbs
About me:
I like to eat bananas, swing from vines and write "Gilmore Girls" fan fiction.

Who I'd like to meet:
Bonzo, Mickey Dolenz and Pope Benedict XIV.

Caesar's Interests
General: Grooming other apes, eating bananas and Marvel Comics (post 1988.)

Music: "I'm a Believer", "Last Train to Clarksville" and "My Adidas."

Movies: Bedtime for Bonzo, Buddy and The Exorcism of Emily Rose.

Television: Lancelot Link, Magillia Gorilla and Yes Dear.

Books: The Days of the Monkey, Walking with Apes and Have A Nice Day by Mick Foley.

Heroes: King Kong, Donkey Kong and Sarah Jessica Parker.

Did you get all the jokes? Did you just say "ALL the jokes? That was just ONE joke over and over."

Yes, it was.

That isn't the only place on the web that Caesar's presence was felt. He also popped up on the Disney message board micechat.com.

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Caesar was modeling some of my Disneyland head wear.

If you have ever been to a Disney park, you know the type of hat I speak of. It's one of those crazy over-sized hats that no rational adult would ever be caught dead wearing.

Caesar is NOT a rational adult. Neither am I.

Here are the hats he modeled:

This is my Chicken Little hat. I got it free with a purchase of a few dozen Pop Tarts. I'll let you try it on if you stop by. Plus you can get all the strawberry Pop Tarts you can eat.
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My Donald Duck's butt hat. Yeah, having the hindquarters of a a waterfowl on my head makes me look like I am having much more fun.
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My Yeti hat. This one was made in conjunction with the Everest ride at Animal Kingdom, however, the hat IS bi-coastal since the Yeti is also the star of Disneyland's Matterhorn Mountain.

Thank goodness or else I would have trouble looking ridiculous in California.
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This is my Frontierland hat. I once got into an argument with a moron who rode the tram and just had no manners. It almost got violent. I wonder if he could have gotten as mad at me if I had Donald Duck's tush on my head that day.
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Anyway, that is what Caesar contributed to OTHER sites on the internet. It feels good to finally have him seen right here on bunchojunk.com.

The bunchojunk.com Closet

Sadly not everything in life gets finished. We all have tons of evidence of this in our homes. A pattern for a tie we INSISTED we would sew. A model car kit that has never been assembled. A pair of button-fly jeans that we never made the effort to button.

So what do we do? We stick it in the closet promising to one day "finish" it.

Well, bunchojunk.com has a closet and the damned thing is full. Full of opening paragraphs, odd facts and photos.

I'll never get around to any of it. So, rather than just toss all these ideas away, I have decided to share them. Take a look:

Here is an opening paragraph that had something to do with Oprah and Don King. I don't recall what point I was making.

Don King has become such a big part of Americana that few people even know that he promotes boxing matches. The same can be said for Oprah. Actually, it can't. She never promotes boxing matches.

Hysterical. Too bad it will never be finished. Still, now you can try and imagine what may have been.

What about this unfinished review of Coke Blak.

I try every soda I can get my hands on. I wanted to

Yeah, theres a great sentence and a half.

Here's a conversation that was cut from one of the eBay posts and saved for a future post that never happened.

DOCTOR EBAY: You need an operation. Your gall bladder is made out of chocolate.
SWEETIE: Says you! I say it's made out of "I Can't Believe It's Not Chocolate."
DOCTOR EBAY: You mean butter.
SWEETIE: Why do we fight?
DOCTOR EBAY: Because you don't love me anymore.

How about a photo of me wearing a Fred Flintstone shirt and standing with Kermit the Frog.

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Comedy at it's purest, is it not?

Still, it is not as great as this list of 7 things that either feature Paul Hogan or pepperoni:

1. Flipper (With Paul Hogan)
2. Pepperoni calzone
3. Crocodile Dundee In Los Angeles
4. Crocodile Dundee 2
5. Late Night With David Letterman episode 1102 (Dave interviews Paul Hogan)
6. Pepperoni pizza
7. Late Night With David Letterman episode 1391 (Dave eats a pepperoni pizza)

How about this wacky joke:

I want to make a point here! Everyone has a kdw hoki32y8y2ih2ijkdhkjhdldkh dlkhjk jsjdsj sjjjs - sorry, my cat stepped on my keyboard.

How about this wackier joke:

I want to make a point here! Everyone has a kdw hoki32y8y2ih2ijkdhkjhdldkh dlkhjk jsjdsj sjjjs - sorry, my kangaroo stepped on my keyboard.

How about this WACKIEST joke:

I want to make a point here! Everyone has a kdw hoki32y8y2ih2ijkdhkjhdldkh dlkhjk jsjdsj sjjjs - sorry, Vice President Dick Cheney shot my keyboard.

Oh, the hilarity.

Speaking of which, lets close with a photo of me making out with a fish.

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Friday, May 19, 2006

Beaver and Chuey

A few years ago I was working a job with a guy named Temiecin. He was born in Ethiopia and had only spent a few weeks in the United States. His spoke little English.

Really, really little.

Mostly "yes," "no," and "lunch."

Anyway, one day I was working with his for about four hours. Four hours of him looking blankly at me.

Out of sheer boredom I opened my wallet and showed him every photo I had.

His eyes lit up when I showed him this one:
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"Ahhh, Mr. T." He said.

He smiled and then there was silence. Silence for about 10 minutes.

Suddenly he taps me on the shoulder and says "Michael Jordan?"

I shook my head 'no.'

He looked disappointed.

I thought of this as I watched "Leave It To Beaver" last night.

The episode was from the second season. Beaver Cleaver was still a cute little kid and in this episode he had a new friend.

Chuey, pronounced "chewy."

Unfortunately this was years before Star Wars so they never made any Chewbacca jokes.

Beaver and Chuey spend time playing cowboys and Indians blissfully unaware of what the other is saying. Ward and June don't have it so easy. They meet Chuey's mom and are stunned to realize that she only knows how to say "I don't speak the English."

So Ward and June just speak VERY LOUD and she shrugs her shoulders a whole lot.

I am a little confused as to why Chuey's mom stopped by in the first place. It's like she wanted to come over JUST to make them uncomfortable. She doesn't do anything but smile.

She is the Spanish Vanna White. I shall call her Vanna Blanco.

Anyway, Eddie Haskell tricks Beaver into telling his pal that he has "a face like a pig" in Spanish.

The next scene is just bizarre.

Beaver speaks in Spanish. He says "You have a face like a..."


How could this sentence fragment possibly make him that happy? What could be the best ending?

"You have a face like a... dude with a great face."

Soon, the smile turns to tears and Chuey leaves the house.

His parents resurface. They are furious at the Cleavers. How dare their son say such a thing. They seem so aggravated by the "pig" comment that I began to wonder if Spanish speaking countries had large Muslim populations in the 1950s.

At no point does it occur to Chuey and his family that BEAVER DOESN'T SPEAK SPANISH!

I began to worry that Ward might try to say "hasta luego" and mispronounce it to sound like "your mom is a gorilla."

Chuey's dad would have shot him.

Or cried.

Anyway, the whole misunderstanding is resolved and he and Chuey stay friends for... uh... I don't think Chuey was ever on any other episodes. Hmmmm. Maybe Ward did make the gorilla comment about Chuey's grandmother!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

BOJY2: Another Year of Junk


Yes, it has been another fun year writing for bunchojunk.com. I hope it was fun reading it. Here are some random lines from the past 12 months:

May 2005:

Somewhere today in a schoolyard the following conversation is taking place:
KID #1: Knock knock.
KID #2: Who's there?
KID #1: Utah who?
KID #2: You tall, but I short.
Followed by uncomfortable silence.

"I had it with me before I did the form. You know how you always know that your tongue is in your mouth, and then when it's out of your mouth you can tell? That's how I know I lost it there."

The most perplexing domestic problem Harrison faced was the tariff issue. I defy any of you readers to make jokes about tariffs. It's not easy is it? See why I had to stoop to peanut jokes?

Belle also starred in three films with the word "devil" in the title: "The Devil Dodger", "The Devil's Skipper" and "The Devil's Trademark".
I could not find any plot information on these, but these are my guesses:
The Devil Dodger: A poignant film about Kirk Gibson's deal with the devil.
The Devil's Skipper: Alan Hale and Bob Denver play wacky crewmen on a boat carrying the devil for what is supposed to be a three hour tour.
The Devil's Trademark: The devil goes to court to defend his ownership of the phrase "three-peat".

June 2005:

Her work in Hunchback II got her a DVD Premiere Award for best song. Sadly she has to share the award with Jason Alexander and that stiff news anchor from "Murphy Brown" plus it sounds like an award show they just made up over a weekend.

Suddenly I realized a dream I never knew I had; I wanted to eat a box of fortune cookies. I also now wanted to see a snake with a handlebar mustache.

On the bright side, Smokey ROBINSON is willing to hang out with people who play with BOTH matches and lighters.
He just isn't willing to hang out with YOU.

July 2005:

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. I think that might be the one where they talked to whales telepathically. Whales spend most of their time thinking stuff like "do I look fat in this ocean?" and "good lord! Does Ben Stiller have to be in EVERY movie?"

I'll bet you any amount of money that "supplies" means "coconut rum."

5. Children using diapers MUST have _________.
A) proper bathing attire, B) waterproof shorts or C) a permission slip from their toilet

August 2005:

It is not often that reporters laugh. This laughter was so loud and riotous that it could be heard as far away as El Segundo, Redondo, Palo Alto and many other California towns that sound more like a new menu item from Taco Bell.

"What would it be like to eat dinner with the guy who plays Doug's black friend on TV's King of Queens?"

As for Howie Mandel, I ALREADY hate him, but I try not to admit it too often. He looks like a psycho with his head shaved and the goatee. I am ashamed to admit it, but I am scared of him

September 2005:

His name was Ben and one day he came into school and started talking about motorcycles. He loved stupid motorcycles. If ya asked him what he thought of the NAFTA trade situation he would find a way to steer the conversation back to motorcycles. Eventually I just tried to avoid him.

I like his sandals. Very 'Old Testament.' I'm not so sure about the hat, that's not very 'Old Testament.' That’s more 'new Arizona Diamondbacks.'

Well, you probably could count them, but it would take you a while. Then you would have to tell people: "I can't hang out tonight; I have to count Shirley Temple movies."

October 2005:

If it wasn't for the word "Twinkies" scrawled across the costume I would have assumed he was supposed to be a thumb. A queer thumb.

It is worth noting that the rabbit has attended every film so far. He has no life.
Also, the family is joined by a midget matre’de. His name is Juan. He likes to laugh at the funny Adam Sandler movie.

I should drink Mug root beer from this mug as I look at their mugs as I get mugged.
I would make a Harry Potter "muggle" reference here, but I'm just too lazy to think of one.

November 2005:

COWBOY ONE: Time for a spot of tea?
COWBOY TWO: Your jeans don't match your watch. Or your petticoat.

They had some strange gimmicks. One guy was a repo man who would repossess things from his opponents. I am pretty sure he repo-ed a pair of boots from Outlaw Ron Bass at one point. Does that mean Bass had a mortgage at Foot Locker? I hope he did.

We met when it was cold
Your hair smelled nice
Kathy Lee Gifford?
I don't know how to write a haiku

December 2005:

I bet the old guy is like most old people. I bet he just keeps telling the baby that everything was "better in my day."

Albert Einstein stuck his tongue out at someone at some point. I know this because every nerd has a photo of it on his wall.

Alternative rock, independent movies and unsanitary cereal. It was a golden age of edginess.

January 2006:

Tim Curry can't be too proud of that. I bet he stays up at night cursing the name of Tenderheart Bear.

I like the first line because it made me think of the Kevin James show "King of Queens." Also, the title "Raising Hell" makes me think of that movie Raising Helen. It also kinda reminds me of the movie Raising Arizona which sorta reminds me of Arizona congressman Jeff Flake.
His name makes me think of Tony the Tiger. Also Tony Curtis. What a flake.

If he means football great Ernie "The Cat" Ladd, I am not just warned, I am giddy with excitement.

February 2006:

But, you rarely see trough urinals anymore. If you have no idea what I am talking about count your blessings.

Toilet Duck, Toilet Duck!
Like a super cleansing hockey puck.
No more stubborn build up of lime
You keep it clean for months at a time,
It’s triple action clean!
Triple action clean.

1. Having your fingernails ripped out like in that movie Syriana.
2. Getting electrocuted in a pool, as that kid was in Syriana.
3. Having to watch Syriana.

March 2006:

Think how jealous the neighbors would be! Plus, when the sad day comes that the family pooch dies, stick him under the rug and tell people: "Fido was squashed by the Jolly Green Giant."

BUDDY: Hey, wanna go see Woodstock?
SHEMP: Woodstock? The yellow bird from Snoopy?
SHEMP: Then I'm not interested.

Let's see. Theres a guy who married a Spice Girl, one of the Brokeback Mountain guys, HOLY COW: Kurt friggin' Douglas! SPARTACUS, baby!

April 2006:

Could it be that guy in the turkey costume that emerged from an egg at the WWF's Survivor Series ten years ago?

As children we make promises to ourselves. We want to "be an astronaut" one day. Or we say we will NEVER "take a bath" when we grow up.
As we get older we see how much friggin' work it is to join NASA and we develop better hygiene.

The park has a few popular roller coasters inside, but also many rides that are a mirror image of Disneyland rides (assuming that the mirror you are using is one of those mirrors with a painting of some 70s rock band on it that your older brother won at a church carnival.)

So, did any of this sound familiar? Don't feel to bad if it didn't, I forgot most of it, too.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

My Fake Care Bear

I love claw machines. I will spend 10 dollars just to get that claw to grab a stuffed animal worth 50 cents. Then, I usually don't even want the stuffed animal, and I give it away to the first kid I see.

While that sounds like a good thing to do, I recently saw Toy Story. Now, I wonder.

Sure, the toys seemed proud to be owned by a kid who "loved" them, but if you had your choice, would you rather be dragged around by some dirty brat or put in a closet somewhere and left alone.

Maybe I am just anti-social.

Anyway, I had begun to lose my interest in the claw machines a few years ago. It seemed that every machine I tried was rigged so the "claw" was too loose to pick up anything. It just clamped around the toy and then gently massaged it as it pulled upward not even moving the doll.

My love for claw machines came roaring back recently when I found a machine that lets you play "until you win" for $2.

Sure, it's kinda like cheating. And, true, I wouldn't buy any of these toys if they were at the dollar store.

Well, I might have bought this:
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Feast your eyes on my latest win!

At first glance I thought he was a Care Bear. I don't know too much about the Care Bears, but I think their name is usually pertaining to the symbol on their stomach.

That means that this must be Justice Bear.

I can see him ruling over property disputes and making judgments regarding small claims clinging to the hope that one day he will get to preside over a big case and become the next Judge Ito.

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Oh, never mind. The tag calls him the Zodiac Bear.

Well, anyway, he still looks like a Care Bear thanks to the fine plagiarism by the folks at Toymax. It's also nice to know that he's "collectable."

So what if it's spelled wrong. He's not "Spelling Bear."

Monday, May 08, 2006

How to Repair a Videocassette: The Videocassette

Every six months or so I wind up at a public library. Usually, it's just because from the outside it looked like a bookstore and I like coffee.

Still, with or without a latte, a building full of books can be very cool.

However, the coolest thing in the library on this day was not the books, it was the videocassettes.

Most libraries have a good selection of VHS tapes and DVDs. Not enough to rival a video store, but a whole lot and they rent 'em for free.

After a quick look at the feature films I stumbled into a "do it yourself" section. Dozens and dozens of videos helping people do anything from "birdwatching" to "breastfeeding."

It was truly astounding. If you ever need to master Windows 3.1, they have a tape for you.

The one I decided to borrow was:

How to Repair a Videocassette

The tape starred "singers" Janet and Judy Robinson.
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At first I thought it was odd that the tape mentioned that they were singers. Once I put the tape on I found out why:


Here is the scenario. Janet is smart and knows all about repairing VHS tapes. Her twin sister Judy is a complete moron.

They were my hosts as I watched the tape.

Over the course of 25 minutes we laughed and learned.

Oh, and I cringed at a couple parts.

And I got up to make a snack at one point and decided it wasn't worth pausing.

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Janet has a whole bunch of broken tapes and teaches us how to spot the problem with each tape.

Then she says "if it's hard to fix it's not worth fixing."

I was stunned. Not just because those were the exact words I said to 3 of my ex-girlfriends before I changed my number, but because it was the worst advice I have ever heard.

If it wasn't for the fact that she had just sung a song about the differences between VHS and BETA I would have turned the tape off.

Judy shows up in her :work clothes." See, she heard there was work to do so she put on a bandanna and overalls. Perhaps she thought the work was "being Hillbilly Jim."

Smart Janet tells her she doesn't need "those clothes." So Judy starts to get undressed.

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Sadly Janet stops her and we move on to splicing.

If a tape breaks, Janet tells us, we should just get some scotch tape and tape it back together.

Stupid Judy then shows up with a pizza slicer.
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See, she thought Janet said "slice" not "splice."

I can only imagine the copyright lawsuit Amelia Bedielia had against this tape.

Janet walks us through fixing the door on a tape and how to tell if your VCR is the problem.

Perhaps a clue would be that THIS tape wouldn't play.

However, broken VCRs bring back Janet's number one rule:

"If it's hard to fix it's not worth fixing."

Which also explains how she has not taken Judy to a doctor for her potentially dangerous brain damage.

I hope no one ever asks Judy to make "finger sandwiches." I can see Janet looking at her bloody knuckle stumps and saying "reattaching nerve endings is hard to do, so it's not worth doing."

Judy does seemingly get revenge at the end when she ties Janet up with some un-spooled tape.
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It's like "Of Mice and Men," I guess. Lenny just wanted to PLAY with the rabbits.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Angel in the Eggnog

Coloring book pages usually elicit one of three reactions:

A. Awww, that's cute.
B. Where's my crayons?
C. Dude, she is so totally hot.

Well, at least with me they do.

This coloring book page left me with a different reaction altogether:


I have no clue.

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It's a baby angel. A rather hard living baby angel, as evidenced by the patch on his elbow and hole in his shoe. He looks either puzzled or surprised as he sits in a cup of eggnog.

What is this implying? What the heck is he doing there. Did we catch him as he attempted to contaminate our nog? Or is he just bathing in the cup. Plus, why would a coffee cup be marked "eggnog?"

Don't normal people drink eggnog either out of a tumbler of off Mrs. Claus' chest?

I have no idea. But, color and enjoy.