Dinosaur Dracula!

Spooky Saturday Survey.

There’s a new feature up, covering four random Pokemon foodstuffs from thirteen years ago. I admit that I’m not the Pokefan I once was, and that it’s become something I admire more from afar. Still, the featured snacks come from a time when I was all about Pokemon, and if you were into the franchise at that time, the sight of these gloriously tacky Pop-Tarts and Eggo waffles should thrill and excite you.

My pal Judson sent me a care package of assorted trading cards, and I nearly died when I saw this one. It’s from Topps’ 1988 Dinosaurs Attack series, where each card presented a new vision of gory torment, with violent dinosaurs warping to present day to tear us to shreds.

The cards held nothing back, and they were damn creative in their brutality. Aside from the expected visuals of dinosaurs eating people, you had stuff like prehistoric bugs devouring our scalps, and even a card where a dinosaur blipped into present day directly over a human being, with merging fleshes and all. Jesus!

But this is the card that really affected me. Good old #52. “The Ultimate Sacrifice.”

To save civilization, some guy sacrifices himself to the “Supreme Evil” – essentially an enormous MUTANT LEADER DINOSAUR, which was Topps’ way of bringing Satan into the mix without actually saying it. Adding the sick story to the fact that they used a photo of a real guy on the back of the card, #52 haunted me for years.

I collected the cards when they were still new, which, by my math, made me much too young for something this twisted. It wasn’t as if I expected a multi-eyed mutant dinosaur to zap into existence and eat me, but between the hellish themes and the melting skin, #52 opened my mind to all sorts of previously inconceivable horrors. When it was dark and quiet enough, bad thoughts took over.

And it’s those memories that inspired tonight’s survey:

What are some of the weirdly creepy things that gave you pause? I’m not simply talking about moments in horror movies that scared you only in that instant. I mean, things that affected you and stuck with you. Things that got in your head, stayed there, and directed brain traffic for far longer than they had any right to. Maybe it was a movie moment. Maybe it was a scene from a video game. Maybe it was the “Tallman’s Ghost” episode of Unsolved Mysteries.

It’s time to confess. Perhaps you’ll exorcise a few demons. Go!

Topps Bubble Gum Juice Cartons!

Oh yes. These things. Staples of my childhood diet! No kid could resist bubble gum rocks that poured from tiny juice cartons! Made by Topps in the early ‘80s, “juice gum” survived until long after I’d stopped paying attention. For all I know, they’re still out there somewhere. Let us pray. Read More…

What’s the weirdest thing in your wallet?

I’ll never turn down the chance to go through someone’s wallet. It doesn’t matter if I like the person, hate the person or even really know the person. I just want to see what’s in there, and make a totally unfair analysis of the wallet’s owner based on its contents.

I don’t think this is exclusive to me. We’re all voyeurs.

A few nights ago on Dino Drac’s Facebook page, I asked everyone to describe the weirdest things in their wallets. Satisfied with the answers but really wanting to see the goods, I then made a formal request for photos and explanations.

Twenty-two of you complied, with a barrage of oddities ranging from flattened souvenir pennies to what looks like drugs but are actually beans. Below are the results. (I won’t be participating, as I’ve already described my wallet contents in this post.)

Just a note: I blocked out some names/photos even if I wasn’t directed to, imagining that there may come a time when someone might not wish to be immortalized so publicly. If you see a big red rectangle on your photo, I only did it out of love.

A big thanks to our 22 guinea pigs! Let’s see what makes them tick… Read More…

Boys’ Life Magazine Ads.

Boys’ Life is the official magazine of the Boy Scouts of America. It ruled my childhood.

I was in the Scouts, but that had nothing to do with it. All of my grade school buddies were in the Scouts. It was just kind of a given that we would be.

For us, it was essentially an afterschool “latchkey” program, held at a nearby church, with a few of our mothers rotating in and out of “den leader” roles. We wore the uniforms and we had the books, but it was more or less just playtime. Actual scout-like activities were few and far between. I didn’t mind going and neither did my friends, but we’d have just as soon stayed home.

Only one of my friends stayed in for the long haul. He seemed embarrassed whenever we brought it up, but his bedroom was full of Boy Scout things, including the fabled Webelos uniform that none of the rest of us achieved.

He’s the one who introduced me to Boys’ Life Magazine. In his room was a pile of them, nearly half as tall as I was. I don’t know what compelled me to begin thumbing through them, but once I did, something magical happened.

The articles in each issue were what you’d expect. Sugary stories about being a better person, or about making things out of egg cartons, or maybe about the logistics of rain.

I wasn’t enthralled until I got to the last few pages. The “GIFTS & GIMMICKS” section. At that moment, something clicked, and nothing would ever be the same. Read More…