Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Lucky Charms Marshmallow Epidemic

The other day I was doing some research in the name of science and discovered that there are now way too many different kinds of marshmallows in Lucky Charms (For those of you unfamiliar with Lucky Charms, it’s a breakfast cereal consisting of an assortment of marshmallow shapes mixed with some dry cat food).

Back in my kid days we only had five different kinds of marshmallows: pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, green clovers, and blue diamonds.

Of course in 1984 they introduced purple horseshoes which ended up being a huge controversy turning this country upside down and causing the Russians to boycott the 84’ Olympics. But as a world we eventually healed.

But now I’ve learned that they have added all kinds of new absurd marshmallows. There’s shooting stars, balloons, rainbows, pots of gold, and something called cloverhats. I’m disgusted. 

They’re magically oversaturated with marshmallows is what they are.

Pat, surely you are not a fan of all these new foreign marshmallows are you?

Pat:  I think I did a clover hat at a Dead show way back in college. Not sure, but that sounds familiar. And I hear shooting stars are what all the kids these days are trading their Ativan™ and Ritalin™ for when they go to those weekend parties.  

You can buy those in cereals now? Wow...things are getting progressive!

Christian: I’m not surprised at all that you are in favor of this free-for-all orgy of marshmallow recklessness. Weren't you also the one that argued that they needed more members in Menudo if they ever really wanted to reach true success? Pshhh.

So if you are in favor of this new marshmallow regime, let me ask you this; is there a point at which you’ll feel like there are too many marshmallows? Or do you think they should just keep adding new marshmallow after new marshmallow after new marshmallow until someone is killed?

Pat:  First off...don’t try to distort my words. What I said was that I thought it was pretty cool that they were putting DRUGS into Lucky Charms. Because I misunderstood and thought that those things you were talking about were drugs, and then I started thinking about how much more I probably would’ve liked cereal--and potentially life--if there were drugs in it.  

But I get it. And I have to say I still think the more-marshmallow thing is okay. I mean, nobody ever buys that cereal for the bland grain-based non-marshmallow things, do they? Hell, I think it’d be cool if the cereal was nothing BUT those weird foamy marshmallows. Imagine the gloopy paste that would turn into when mixed with milk and saliva in your mouth. Mmmmmmmmmm!

Christian: Yes I agree, drugs or no drugs, the marshmallows are the best part.


However I do feel you need at least a little bit of the dry cat food part for texture’s sake but that’s an argument for another day.

My issue with these new age Lucky Charms is the constant changing of the marshmallow shapes. If they keep adding and removing marshmallows all willy-nilly like, it’s just going to confuse and frighten kids (like Menudo). And what if a kid gets particularly attached to a specific marshmallow but it’s then removed to make room for another new one?

How am I supposed to explain to my four year old that his favorite hot air balloon Lucky Charm marshmallow is now dead? Slaughtered into a cold pool of gooey blood by marketing marshmallow murderers who say the balloon marshmallow wasn’t trending well?

Pat, you are a monster.

Pat:   I suppose you struggle with the fact that “Small Wonder” and “Charles in Charge” aren’t on TV anymore, too. Yeah? Life moves ever forward, Christian, in people and in marshmallow-whole-grain(??) cereals. Embrace change or prepare to huddle in a small mass of quivering flesh on your kitchen floor. Forever.

Christian: Hey, I’m all for change. Without it technology wouldn’t advance and we wouldn’t grow as people. But it is also important to hold onto tradition and our roots. And change just for change’s sake is not something I’m always on board with. Especially at the frequency the marshmallow engineers at General Mills keep changing the Lucky Charms marshmallows.

Since 1986, they have added a whale-shaped marshmallow then got rid of it, a green tree-shaped one then got rid of it, sprinkled marshmallows then got rid of them, and don’t even get me started on the ludicrous number of freakish star and balloon hybrid marshmallows they have experimented with over the years.

I don’t remember this one.

They are basically doing their market research on us. Can’t they just figure out what the best shapes are without having to experiment on us?

Pat, do you like having large corporations experiment on you? I don’t.

Pat: Marshmallow-dentata? That’s kind of fucked up. Gelatin balls shouldn’t have teeth. Or eyes, I suppose.  

Would this be a bad time to bring up the light brown M&M™  from our youth?

Christian: EXACTLY!!! That’s the perfect example of large corporations experimenting on us. I don’t remember all the facts as to why they eventually discontinued them but didn’t those light brown M&Ms kill a lot of people including wiping out the entire population of a small town in Nebraska? Again, I don’t remember the details but DON’T google it. We don’t want to break the momentum this post has going on right now.

And let us not forget the Coca-Cola recipe experiments of the 80’s which was the root cause of Baby Jessica falling down that well.  

In conclusion, I think it’s pretty obvious that constant changing of the marshmallows in Lucky Charms will only lead to the devastation of small midwest towns and babies falling down wells.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Dreeeeeam....dream, dream, dreeeeam

Lots of things about getting older have left me...well...wondering about things. And by “things” I mean a terrifying debilitating fear of death, dying and pain. Things just hurt or ache or protrude, when they didn’t used to.

Still...this is no place to ruminate on our impending shortening mortal coil. One apparent perk of growing older? Trippy-ass dreams! Like the ones I’ve been having. No clue on earth what the hell they mean, and I’m tempted to leave ‘em well enough alone.

But I won’t.

Pat:  Christian...get this.

One night recently, I dreamt that I was in a house in Canada, just doing regular house-y things. Doorbell rings. Snoop Dogg--wait...a 5 foot tall Snoop Dogg--stands there holding a box.

“Hey Snoop,” says me.

“Hey man, here’s that box you needed,” says Snoop, handing me the box.

“Thanks, Snoop. Thanks a lot. See ya’,” says me.

“Here’s your shirt for school,” I continue, as I pull out the red and white basketball jersey that Snoop brought her, and which looks like it will fit more like a nylon mesh dress.

“Thanks daddie!”

And off she goes to Canada.


Christian: Well, lucky for you I’m a professional amatuer dream-analyzer hobbyist. Were there any birds in this dream?

Pat:  None. Well, I don’t think so. They might have been in my peripheral dream vision. I mean, it was Canada, so there must have been a goose or an eagle or a puffin in there somewhere.

Whatcha’ got for me? And just so I don’t catch you off-guard, when you’re done with this dream, I want to move on to one I just had that involved waking up from a nap on a colleague’s couch to find myself getting spooned by said colleague. It was really weird going to work the next day.

Christian: Did this second dream have any birds in it? I’m going to be upfront with you. If your dreams don’t have any birds in them I’m going to have a hard time analyzing them.

Pat:  Nope. No birds, unless, again, peripherally. Only colleagues, a forested hillside, a winding road, and a bachelor pad with a couch in it.

Whatcha’ got for me?

Christian: Was the colleague male or female?

Pat:  Very male. Big meaty fella’. Fleshy mits for hands--at least I think so. In my dream I was awakened by his big fleshy mit on my shoulder. Tenderly, mind you. But still creepy. We call him “Mook”. In real life that is. It’s not really his name...but it should be.

Christian: I think it’s a good thing that he was male. Otherwise, your wife probably wouldn’t be too happy with you dreaming about a female co-worker and you might also be at risk of some kind of sexual harassment lawsuit since you just publicly described a physical episode with an innocent co-worker.

Although on the other hand, this dream means that you are most likely gay, so your wife might not be too happy about that either. But let’s get back to your first dream.

You say it took place in Canada? That’s interesting since we all know that Canadians make you feel uncomfortable. Is it possible that you are feeling guilty about how you feel about our friends to the north? Or perhaps deep down you wish you were Snoop Dogg and that’s why you have him fulfilling your daughter’s parental needs and why he’s only 5 feet tall. It’s definitely one or the other.

Canada’s Snoop Dogg.

Pat:   Maybe. Never thought about that. But now he’s Snoop Lion, right? And I have always been afraid of lions, even though I’ve never really been threatened by them. It’s the manes, and the big teeth. And that ROAR! And the guy spooning me in my dream has mits like lion paws.

I think you might have tapped something. Go with it. Go now!

Christian:  Yes. That is what I meant. You must be scared of lions. Definitely what I meant. I totally nailed that one on the head.

But maybe it’s not lions you are scared of? It’s interesting that you said “It’s the manes, and the big teeth” because that makes me think that it’s actually the manes, and the big teeth you are afraid of. Hmmm?

Are you afraid of Prince?

Just look at that mane and big teeth. Rawr indeed!

Pat:  Yes. I have always been afraid of him. But that’s normal. I think if you’re not afraid (and weirdly attracted at the same time) to Prince then there’s something very wrong with you.

But...manes. We might be onto something here. Manes really only live on big animals (and David Coverdale). And they’re scary. And Maine is one of our northernmost contiguous states, and we don’t really need to talk any more about latitudes, do we? And The Maine was the damn catastrophe that got us into World War One way back when people who are now dead were living. And Mook teaches history!

Damn. You’re good, man.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Travel Series Amsterdam: The Good, The Bad, and The Porn

Today is the first installment of a new travel series here at PCPPP. In this series we will pick a travel destination for destinying to and discuss. Today we’ll be talking about the European city of Amsterdam. Pat and I traveled Europe together along with another friend while we were in college and Amsterdam was one of the first cities we visited. So without anymore hesitation let’s begin!

Christian: When you think of Anne Frank and her triumphant yet tragic story of courage under duress in the most dire of times, you probably don’t think of hardcore porn. I do!  

Because there is a lot of it all over Amsterdam. Especially if your accommodations happen to be located in the center of the Red Light district. For those that are unfamiliar with what a Red Light district is, imagine it just like Dr. Seuss’s Whoville but replace all the Whos with whores.

That’s a lot of whores.

And of course Anne Frank’s story happens to also take place in this famed city, although well before all the porn and whores showed up in such great abundance. I’m assuming.

I’m sure there is more to this city than pornography but man was there a lot of it there. What are you thoughts Pat?

Pat:  Embarrassment and shame.

Christian: Go on.

Pat:  Here are my memories, in perhaps chronological order:

-Fried dough pastries
-Red lights and hookers (very polite, I might add)
-The smell of urine
-Police and pot smokers (very polite, I might add)
-A museum (Van Gogh?  Rembrandt?  Art?  Sex?)
-Many more pastries at later and later hours of the day
-Maybe some tulips and clogs and windmills

I think I’ve learned that, as a country and a city, Holland and Amsterdam, respectively, have a lot more to offer the interested tourist that my dumb-ass noticed when I was 21. Wanna’ go again and seek redemption?

Christian: Well I don’t know if you are aware of/remember this or not but I did go again. And I must say, the second trip where you weren’t there was a lot better!

It turns out there’s a lot more to Amsterdam than just drugs, pornogrpahy, and whores. There are museums, restaurants, pornography, and beautiful parks! It was like I was visiting a completely different city.

Let me give you a side by side example.

First morning - 2nd trip to Amsterdam (without Pat):
My cousin and I had taken an overnight train from Paris so we actually woke up on the train at the train station. We walked to a nice little cafe and had a pleasant breakfast outside in the gorgeous weather overlooking a beautiful park.

First morning - 1st time to Amsterdam (with Pat):
Woke up on a gray well-stained mattress that was laying on the linoleum floor of a run down medium sized room, outlined with bunk beds against every wall. The only other person in the room was a scraggly looking dude who was sitting on another well-stained mattress a few feet from me. As I sat up he immediately asked me if I had a spoon he could borrow. “Sorry, I don’t”, I answered, feeling a bit guilty that I wasn’t able to help a fellow traveler eat his nice morning snack of... yogurt maybe? Mmmm! Or possibly a hearty bowl of scrumptious soup? Yum! Or perhaps some heroin he proceeded to melt over a portable bunsen burner and then shoot it into his arm with a hypodermic needle? Deelishh-wait, what??!?!  Since I didn’t have a spoon for him he melted the heroin in a gum wrapper. It also rained that day.

Now I’m not saying that the second trip was better because you weren’t there Pat, but I’m also not saying it wasn’t not worse because you weren’t there (<- Maybe insulting, maybe not).

Pat:  Hey. It was NOT my idea to stay at Bob’s Youth Hostel. If ever the name of the place should hint at it’s reputation, this was the time. And we were the cheap-ass na├»ve Americans. And that shithole was SCARY!

I forgot about the heroin thing. I think psychology classes everywhere might have a great example of repression right there.

Before we proceed...remember that our trip back then was a long one, the result of lots of planning and youthful anticipation and friendship. And it was ways. But it was also the trip where, on the plane ride over, our friend told me that whatever we did during the seven weeks, she just didn’t want to visit any museums or do any sightseeing.  

Oh. Okay.

So...yeah. We didn’t treat you to a very good first night/morning in Amsterdam. And I don’t think the second night was much better. But I bet you’re going to tell me about it yourself soon, yeah?

Christian:  My recollection is that some random saleswoman at a shoe store at the mall was the one that recommended Bob’s Youth Hostel to us. I also remember her not saying anything about the whores.

And no I won’t go into the drastic differences between my two trips on the second night. Because I’m not done comparing the first day!

First afternoon - 2nd trip to Amsterdam (without Pat):
We were tired from taking the overnight train and decided a nap would really hit the spot. So we moseyed over to the beautiful Vondelpark. It was gorgeous. Trees, sculptures, mini-lakes, and plenty of soft grass just begging you to lie down in it. It was a paradise. I found myself a shady patch of grass underneath a welcoming chestnut, and laid my drowsy head down. I fell asleep watching a couple of swans frolic in the sun bathed water.

Vondelpark is Vonderous!

First afternoon - 1st trip to Amsterdam (with Pat):
We couldn’t check into the room at Bob’s Youth Hostel until 12:00 that night for some ridiculous reason so we had to meander around the city as I battled sleep, having been awake for more than 30 hours at this point. We went into what appeared to be a alcohol serving establishment called the Hard Rock Cafe (<- familiar). Once we were inside we noticed that not only were we the only patrons in this tiny establishment but instead of rock n’ roll memorabilia covering the walls they were covered with menus for many varieties of marijuana (the Maui Wowie for you more scientific types). We sat down anyways and ordered some beers. As sleep was getting the best of me I put my head down on my arms that were resting on the table. Seconds later the bartender, who had gone to the backroom and was now heading back to the bar, slapped me on the back of the head, rather violently I might add and then wagged his finger at me. Also rather violently. I’m assuming he mistook me for a drug addict instead of a sleep deprived tourist and the last thing he wanted in his “pot bar” was drug addicts.

So again Pat, totally not your fault, but still, was it your fault? We’ll probably never know the true answer. However when I was there the first time with you we did go on the Heineken brewery tour which ended with all you can drink beer and all you can eat colored cheetos. That was definitely a highlight.

Pat:  Whew! I’m glad you’re able to see the upside of what was a wonderful--in very particular and hard to explain ways--adventure into adulthood and worldly travels.

Just be thankful you didn’t come along with me on my trip to Romania about 5 years after that Amsterdam experience. I had an old Roma (“Gypsy” for you less culturally sensitive folks) woman study my palm and read my coffee grounds only to smile, wink, and tell me that I would not live to see 60. Can’t imagine what would have happened to YOU on that trip!