Dinosaur Dracula!

Crazy ’90s Bubble Gum!

Before I drone on and on about old gum, some updates!

1. Join in Dino Drac’s Patchwork Project! Readers from around the globe are sending in extremely random images to be part of our virtual quilt, and judging from the submissions so far, this is going to be EPIC. There’s still time left to doodle, so get to it!

2. Dino Drac now has a slightly updated look, thanks to Cliffpro. Aside from some minor cosmetic changes, I hope we’ve addressed the cache issues that were keeping certain readers from seeing new posts. For more info, please see the first comment in this post!

Okay, now it’s gum time.

In today’s issue: Four strange brands of bubble gum from the ‘90s! (Actually, the assorted gums are all perfectly normal. It’s the containers that are weird.)

What looks like old candy is really so much more. These gum brands are windows into our collective past. The parts we liked, and the parts we’d rather forget. Mostly the latter. Let’s chew. Read More…

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Chia Pet!

I normally pay attention to Chia Pets only around Christmas, but since I was so busy a few months ago, I didn’t get to keep up the tradition. Maybe this is why I’ve felt so hollow. Thank God for the Ninja Turtles.

Spotted just last night, it’s the official Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Chia Pet, which I think we can take as proof positive that Nickelodeon’s new series is doing pretty well.

I’ve barely paid attention to the new show. Don’t yell at me. I’ve already heard about how great it is, and about how it’s such a perfect balance of nostalgia and new hotness, and about the unlimited extra-vowel Krangs. I’ll get to it, and I’ll love it.

Still, I have to admit that the show’s success took me by surprise. This isn’t the first time TMNT has been brought back, and with all previous attempts, it never seemed to truly click. With the new series, you can’t say the same. I haven’t looked up the ratings or anything, but the fans are obviously there, and they’re not treating it like “just another show.”

How can I put this? The new series just seems so revered.

I have seen all of the toys, of course, and they’re great. You’ll never catch me admitting that the new figures are better than the ones I grew up with, even if my brain knows that they are. In particular, I’m impressed with how creative the new line has been. It’s anything but barebones, and anything but rushed. What could’ve been the simplest doodads were approached with such wacky gusto, and even from afar, from “show” to “stuff” and everything in between, it’s easy to see that the new Turtles are firing on all cylinders.

And yeah, now they have a Chia Pet. Read More…

Five Great Robots.

I like robots. We all do.

In my tween years, I made a sincere attempt at building one. Using an upside down goldfish bowl for the head, my robot was held together with ten rolls of masking tape, had five or six Micro Machines cars stuck to its bottom, and could only “speak” in Jackie Mason’s voice, thanks to a button-activated novelty keychain hidden on its back.

That ridiculous robot meant the world to me, but it fell short of my grander plans. I grew up on a steady diet of truly awesome robots on television and in movies, and I wanted one just like them. I wanted it to move by itself and think for itself. I wanted it to fetch me things from the kitchen. I wanted it to listen when nobody else would.

Basically, I wanted it to be like one of the dudes featured below. Behold, five great robots that rock my socks:

#1: The Honeycomb Robot!
Seen in: Various Honeycomb cereal commercials of the ’80s, like this one.

Back in the mid ‘80s, Post’s Honeycomb cereal commercials were things of beauty. Having very little to do with the cereal itself, they were thirty-second movies about kids in an amazing clubhouse, dealing with a variety of intruders. (Up to and including Andre the Giant!)

It was called Honeycomb Hideout. It’d been around since the ‘70s, but it wasn’t until I was a kid that the clubhouse got its grandest upgrade: A goddamned ROBOT who apparently lived there.

Mixing classic robot features with an outfit suitable for space aliens, Honeybot (not his official name, but I need to call him something) filled my seven-year-old head with insane, burning hot envy. It was bad enough that these kids had such an incredible clubhouse, but to go and add a robot to the mix?

It was the kind of clubhouse most of us could only dream about, being more like a miniature real house than a simple “shed.” But Honeybot just pushed it so far over the top. I would’ve given anything to be a member of this club.

Honeybot also had the ability to speak, and did so using an adorably mechanized inflection that forced me to love him even more.

Plus, he was covered in all sorts of lights! Vegas in robot form! I especially dug his eyes, which made him look something like an extremely trusting cyborg owl. Read More…