Michael Jackson’s Thriller

Things have been insane. So you’ll just have to wait for part two of my Temple of Doom Retrospective. Sorry.

In the meantime, though, enjoy a little taste of Thriller. This was the first album I ever bought, and it was Vinyl. In fact, I still have it. I’ll never forget going over to K-Mart and purchasing it with left-over potholder money.

Anyway, it was cool then, and it is flippin’ sweet, now.

A bit of trivia for you:

The video was released in 1983 at a cost of $500,000, five times what an average video cost at that time.

Jonathan Landis, of American Werewolf in London fame directed.

Special effects guru, Rick Baker, did the f/x.

This was a landmark video and had a brief theatrical run in order to qualify for an Academy Award.

Enjoy

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Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Retrospective PART 1

With it being summer and all, I thought I’d take a post or two or three (whatever it takes)  to discuss one of my favorite films of all time:

The summer of 1984 was a fantastic time. I was 9, going on 10, and the world was one of freedom, adventure, and pure unadulterated joy.

I had no idea how short that time span,  that freedom lasts. To a nine-year-old, time is molasses, a thick, never ending wave to be surfed at one’s leisure. There is no concept of such a thing as mortgages, credit card bills, doctor visits, oil changes, political debates, gay marriage, social injustice, or troubling moles that appear randomly on your back and grow black hair . . .

But I digress . . .

There are two movies that perfectly sum up that summer for me; a summer of bicycles and hide-and-go-seek and fireflies and thunderstorms.

One of them is:

which I will certainly get around to doing a feature about one of these days.

The other is Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

Perhaps more than any other film in my past, this movie is a time machine that transports me back to a time when I was carefree, grass-stained, and freckle-faced. (OK, I still have freckles. Whacha gonna do?)

I know that there are some haters out there, some who absolutely loathe this movie almost with the same vehemence as Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. But I say, “Come on! Really? Crystal Skull? That’s the movie that put Marion on Valium, made Indiana a grumpy old curmudgeon who tried to explain the difference between quick sand and lightening sand while sinking in said mire, and turned that dude from Holes and Even Stevens into Tarzan, complete with the worst CGI monkeys I have seen outside of Jumaji (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmoNj59Ozug).”

Surely you jest. Temple of Doom is Indy at his most awesome, an arrogant, tough, awesome archeological pirate that takes no crap from anyone and gets the chicks.

That summer, my dad had purchased me a loom. Not just any loom, mind you, a loom for making potholders. That’s right, something along the lines of this:

My dad figured that it was time that he taught us kids the value of a buck.

That is exactly what we sold these little beauties for.

Night after night, we would sit in our living room and weave pot holders, while watching Silver Spoons and Different Strokes. Then we would take them door to door and sell them. After that, we would use the money for fun activities all summer long. We were poor, and the extra spending money really came in handy.

I hated selling those things, going door to door and convincing little-ol-ladies that they needed our pieces of junk that were really too small to be of much use of anything other than burning your fingers off when trying to remove a chicken pot pie from the oven.

Man, I love chicken pot pies.

Anyway, I was nine, armed with a bike, and twelve dollars. I did what any kid my age would have done: I went and saw Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom 12 times.

And what a movie! Right from the beginning, you know you are in for something special. I mean, this action adventure flick opens with a glorious musical number in the vein of old Hollywood fantastics like Footlight Parade and Singin’ in the Rain.

Broadway-style opening number....

Wait. What?

That’s right. The Lucas-man and the Spielberginator decided to go in a bit of a different direction on this one, tonally. That is for darn sure. The opening musical number is not only visually jarring, but it also makes no geographic sense. Willie and the chicks disappear inside the head of a huge albino dragon and suddenly, the small nightclub is roughly the size of the USS Nimitz:

Then they pull red scarves out of each others dresses. The whole thing is flamboyant and goofy, but hey, Anything Goes.

Anyway, after the girls finish singing, Indiana comes into the scene, dressed in a dapper white tuxedo.

Here he confronts Lao Che, the notorious Chinese gangster who is notorious for . . .  something sinister.

You can tell by the goofy grins that he and his sons have painted on their mugs (that’s faces in Chinese gangster).

The encounter soon turns violent as Lao poisons Indy, who in return decides to skewer Lao’s son and ruin a perfectly cooked Cornish game hen. Mmmmm, poultry flambe.

Lao frowns upon this, and the game is on. Indy is having trouble staying conscious, and Willie Scott – the famous American singer and girlfriend of Lao – finds the antidote and slips it into her dress.

This is a diamond, not the antidote.

Indy grabs her, they smash through the window, and land in a car driven by Indy’s side kick, Short Round. That’s right, a kid is driving the car! How cool that is . . . if you are a kid!

I thought I had seen Short Round before when he helped Mikey find One-Eyed-Willie’s treasure and save the Goondocks, but my mind was playing tricks on me because that movie came out a year after this one.

Shorty drives them to an airfield and there we see the first really cool cameo of the film, Mr. Dan Aykroyd:

You don’t really see Mr. Aykroyd very well, but it is a cool cameo.

Lao comes driving in, but it is too late.

Or is it?

You see, Indiana made the classic blunder of chartering a plane that is owned by the guy who is trying to kill you. I bet you can guess what that led to.

After a typical Indiana Jones style map screen,

The pilots parachute out, the plane crashes and our heroes parachute out using a rubber raft.

Then they end up bumping into THIS guy:

That is when this movie turns weird.

Yeah, I know, doesn’t sound like I like the movie much, right?

Freakin’ wrong.

I love this movie.

Hands down, this is the best acting that Harrison Ford has ever done, in his life. Even more convincing than the time he married Ally McBeal to try to prove to the world that he was straight, after getting his left ear pierced at age 54.

If you haven’t seen this movie, you really should leave your computer right this second and go watch it.

Seriously.

Turn it off and go.

Don’t let me ruin the rest for you.

Anyway, I’m a bit tired today, so I am going to break this review up.

Tomorrow we will learn more about what awaits our heroes in the mystical land of India. Will Short Round kick some butt? (Yes) Will Indy and Willie get in the mood? (you betcha) Will someone’s heart be ripped right out of his chest and mystically set on fire? (you’d better believe it)

And this is a family film?

Anyhow, this is going to be much more than just a synopsis. We’re gonna throw some trivia your way, some stats, maybe even a factoid or two. It’s gonna be great, much better than that time that your mom took you to Aunt Edna’s and she paid you a quarter to rub her corns.

By the time we are done, you are going to agree with me that Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is one of the greatest masterpieces in modern history.

Or at least you won’t hate it.

See ya tomorrow, Indiana Jones.

I GOT MY LIME ICEE!

SO I had to run to Target today. OK, not really. I just wanted to.

I wanted that Lime Icee, darnit, and I was gonna get one. I made up some lame excuse to my wife about picking up some medicine or some other such nonsense, and then hopped in my car and drove to . . . THE OTHER SIDE OF TOWN (dun dun dun).

And there, at the snack bar, in all its pristine red, white, and blue glory was the ICEE MACHINE, with four flavors gleaming under the florescent glare of the fixtures above. Only one flavor caught my eye – Sublime.

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Now, two things threw me off my game a little bit.

Number one, the Icee that I remember was just called LIME, nothing fancy or hoity-toity (yes, that is how you spell it. I Googled it). This was Sublime. Could there be a difference? Just what did the sub add to my lime?

But it did appear to be the right color, and I had gone to far to turn back, now.

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Numero dose, the stupid flashing red defrost light was on.

I hate that light.

Many a possible refreshing, frosty Icee encounter has been thawed due to the annoyance of there being absolutely no schedule by which these lights appear.

Don’t you think it would make sense to say that, oh, I don’t know, maybe every afternoon at 4:23 on the dot, we will defrost this machine, so don’t come around here expecting an Icee at 4:24, bub, these things take 25 minutes or more to go through their cycle?

Instead, there is absolutely no rhyme or reason that these things decide to defrost. I have asked every Icee clerk in town to tell me when their machine would defrost. Do you know how many were able to tell me?

That’s right. None. Zero. Natta.

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Of course, this time, my enrapture of finding my lost childhood summer love impaired my vision. I decided to go for it, anyway. . .

Which is why I ended up with a foamy soup in my cup, a sticky arm, and a mop in my hand, cleaning Target’s snack bar floor for free.

Twenty minutes later, the red light finally went off.

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Success!

With a trembling hand I lifted the plastic red straw to my mouth.

I took a deep breath, and a light sip.

The sensation of cold and sweet lept onto my pallet like a really sweet, really cold thing that leaps. As the taste of lime filled me to the brim, Icouldn’t help but ask myself if this flavor had tasted so creamy and delicious eight years ago. The answer was: heck freakin’ yes!

Thank you, Target.

See you tomorrow.

FREE ICEE SAMPLES!!!

I walked into my neighborhood Target tonight, in search of the elusive LIME ICEE.

“What?” you ask. “You went to Target just to look for a lime Icee?”

You bet your sweet bippy I did! In the summer of 2004, the Olympics were held in Greece, Yellow Livestrong bracelets hung on the wrists of hipsters around the country, Usher sang his Confessions, people were still trying to get over what Janet Jackson showed them at the Superbowl, Paris Hilton had made a video, Catwoman showed the world why Halle Berry’s Oscar was a total fluke, and the legendary fall flu vaccination shortage was still months off.

The Lime Icee ruled supreme. Imagine tasting the flavor of green.

I know, I know, in a previous post I spoke of how green smelled, but this is how green tastes.

Alas, like the fleeting scent of Yankee Candle Green Grass, the delicious Lime Icee disappeared.

But last Friday, I was on a side of town that I never go to. I was late for an appointment, but I had to stop into Target for just one thing. As always, I had to look over to the Icee machines, just to see what fantastic flavors they had to offer.

You see, one thing you should know about me is that Icees are my vice, my pleasure. When I become wealthy enough, I will have an Icee machine in my basement. I loves me an Icee.

Anyway, my jaw dropped, my pulse quickened, my mouth was instantly filled with water. There it was: THE LIME ICEE! Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to grab one, but I made a mental note to go to the nearest Target at the next possible moment.

That moment was today.

Image my amazed surprise when I walked up to the counter and discovered: FREE ICEE SAMPLES!!!

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Are you freakin’ kidding me?!?! That’s awesome! Any of you ever seen anything like this, before? I mean, this is like Icee-lovers heaven mixed with Icee-lovers Nirvana.

There was one caveat: This particular Target only had Lemon Lime.

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Really?  Are you kidding me? Crap. I could hear Daryl Hall singing, “So close, but so far away.”

But hey, free Icee samples, right? The good thing was that the lady behind the counter was overly generous with the sample. I think she really didn’t care about selling the Icees. She knew just how cool her job was. She got to give people free freakin’ Icees!

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I had fully planned on purchasing an Icee, but after all the samples, I decided to save my money until I could get back to the other Target.

Here is what some of my samples looked like. The Lemon Lime is on the left.

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Tomorrow I’m going to the other Target. If they have free samples of Lime, my head just might freakin’ explode.

Ah! The Smell of Summer . . .

It now being officially summer, I want my office to smell like summer. In the past, nothing said summer like the smell of Yankee Candle Green Grass candles.

Just look at that candle. Go on, I’ll wait. Do you see the amazing color of green, the subtle simplicity of the blue sky label? You just feel spring and summer when you look at this jar, don’t you? I know you do.

These little beauties came out somewhere around 2001, and it was love at first sniff. How do I describe the aroma?

It is the smell of the color, GREEN.

It smells just like your neighbor, Tom, mowed his yard on a Saturday morning – not too early so that you have had a nice rest and are not ticked by his thoughtless mower revving at 6:30 on a May morning, for cryin’ out loud! – and your windows are open letting in the smell of the freshly clipped fescue.

Yep, it smells like that, only someone dumped a pound-sized bag of sugar in to the clippings and mixed it with a stainless steel hand mixer that they bought at Walmart for $29.92 (http://www.walmart.com/ip/GE-6-Speed-Stainless-Steel-Hand-Mixer-with-Case/16913475).

So with an aroma like that, you can imagine my disappointment when Yankee decided to discontinue my favorite spring/summer scent. It’s like the little Yankee elves, who magically craft the candles, decided to snuff the hopes and dreams of a Midwest kid who only wants to sniff a bit of summer.

For the past few years, my spring and summer have been a bit less aromatic.

I have tried to find suitable alternatives. The closes I could find was this:

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How does the saying go? Close, but no cigar. You can tell, just by the color, that this in not in the same ballpark. It does smell a bit like grass. It is decent, has a nice aromatic bouquet, but is definitely the poor man’s substitute.

One of the ways I gauge the quality of this candle is by my nose’s reaction. You see, the Yankee variety was so realistic, that my allergy to fresh grass would sometimes kick in and I would have to go blow the candle out before it melted the little puddle of wax on top, thus making all my candles burn unevenly and forcing me to buy a candle warmer to melt all the left over wax after the wick had tunneled into a wormhole of green.

This candle never did that for (to) me. Still, when I needed a nostalgic nasal boost, it would do in a pinch, but it was never the same.

So then I thought that perhaps I would find a suitable substitute. Not necessarily the same scent, but maybe something to take it’s place.

I found this:

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Now this smells awesome. It is definitely no Green Grass, but I highly recommend it. It is not nearly as feminine as you might guess from the title. It has a bit of fruit, a bit of sass, and the closest thing I relate the smell to is some kind of beverage.

Mind you, I am not sure what beverage it smells like, but the smell that permeates my office is definitely beverage-like in nature.

In case you are wondering why everything in the above picture looks like it was taken in a trashed trailer, it is because of the one danger that is present with this candle. Yes, there is a warning associated with Home Scents Paradise Flower.

That warning is that it did not like my candle warmer. In fact, you might say that the reaction was EXPLOSIVE. That’s right, the candle exploded all over my desk and my Fabreze Scent Story.

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So that did not exactly go as planned, and now I have hot wax to clean up. But never fear, connoisseurs of scent. As searching the web today, I found this:

Like a super hero to the rescue, Yankee Candle has decided to resurrect the Green Grass candle, AND it’s on sale!!!

Happy Day!!!