Dinosaur Dracula!

Five Random Action Figures, Part 18!

I wouldn’t normally do another edition of Five Random Action Figures so soon, but I’m creatively tapped. While my present mental faculties can handle five old toys, I’m not sure that they can handle anything more.

So, off we go! Five Random Action Figures, Part 18!


a-3Cobra Commander!
G.I. Joe, 2002

Funpack subscribers should recognize this “special” Cobra Commander as being from a weird set of Pepsodent promo figures — yes, Pepsodent — that were distributed back in 2002. They were made in India, and I don’t believe were ever available in the States.

As part of the Playskool branch of G.I. Joe figures, the figures were 100% legitimate while still seeming very “bootleg.” The Pepsodent set included ten figures in all, and since I had to handle so many of them for the Funpacks, I can say with all confidence that they were very shoddily made. (Some were molded with differently-sized feet; others had cubic stumps where their hands should’ve been. I have a pile of these figures that were too malformed to include in anyone’s Funpack.)

Many of you had black-suited Cobra Commander figures, but this one is a little different. The details are cruder, the paint is messier, and the figure isn’t quite as articulated. On a stretch, these faults only add to the charm. He almost seems like a prototype, or like something you’d win from a really bad carnival.

(The Pepsodent G.I. Joe figures each came with a weapon, but not a dedicated weapon. Another Cobra Commander figure might’ve come packaged with a totally different gun. I chose the lemon yellow rifle, because I so enjoy the idea of Cobra’s maharaja carrying that.) Read More…

7 Giant, Ominous Statues from Movies & TV.

I’m a sucker for giant, ominous statues. If Easter Island had 7-Elevens, I’d live there.

Quickest way to make me a fan of your movie or TV show? Toss in a giant, ominous statue. I don’t care if the statue is pure scenery or critical to the plot. Just stick it in there!

Here are seven of my favorites:


The Statue of Taweret!
Lost (2006)

Of all the things that kept us guessing about the island from Lost, the Statue of Taweret was by far my favorite. Introduced in Season 2 with only one four-toed foot intact, viewers had to wait until the Season 5 finale to see the whole thing, through one of the show’s most critical flashbacks.

Taweret is the (real life) Egyptian goddess of fertility, and while her inclusion may have been a nod to pregnancies being a “complicated” issue on the island, the statue was mainly there to tell us that people had been coming to this strange place for a very, very long time.

Hippo-headed and carrying an identical pair of huge ankhs, it’s among my favorite “monster” designs ever. (“Monster” in quotes because ancient Egyptians certainly didn’t view Taweret that way. She was a protector!) Read More…

Junk Food of the Gods, Part 1.

I’m not sure if junk food has ever been as interesting as it is at this very moment. Everywhere I turn, I’m deluged by multicolored artificial things that work in sickly sweet pseudo-sugars the way Sirens work in song. It’s great!

Below are five new or newish junk foods that struck me as being just interesting enough to buy, eat, photograph and write about on a 450 degree Tuesday afternoon. Enjoy, however vicariously.


Cotton Candy Oreo Cookies!

I think we’re past the point of thinking that every wacky new Oreo flavor is a major event.

Okay, I’m lying. Of course Cotton Candy Oreos are a major event. Jesus, this is huge!

What I love most is how Nabisco perfectly encapsulated “summer” without ever using the word. I look at these, and all I can think about are swimming pools and ice cream trucks and Roman candles. The sun shines brighter, or maybe that’s just the blazing yellow cookie bag.

The two-tone icing looks like the background in half of my grade school photos, too. Another plus.

I don’t know how Nabisco pulled it off, but the cookies really do share a smell and flavor with cotton candy. It’s a dead-on match. Even has that lingering cotton candy aftertaste. (You know, the kind that’s still in your mouth five hours later, when you’re eating chicken and potatoes? That uh… that might not be a plus.)

Recommended? Yes. Cotton candy is already kinda space food, but if it wasn’t, this would be cotton candy space food. Read More…

Flea Market Finds, Volume Something.

I’d expected to lean more heavily on yard sales this season, but after my success at the Englishtown flea market a few weeks ago, I wanted to know if lightning could strike twice.


It did!

For me, it’s just been about developing my eye. My intuition. If you spend enough time at flea markets, you’ll gain a sort of sixth sense. By sight alone, you’ll know which vendors are going to have reasonable prices. You’ll know which dingy boxes will be worth making your hands dirty. You’ll know when to haggle, simply based on how much desperation hides behind a particular seller’s eyes.

It’s fun. It’s sociology through buying garbage.

We went there yesterday morning, with Jay of The Sexy Armpit. Everyone went home with piles of stuff. In fact, I was only there for fifteen minutes before accumulating too much junk to reasonably carry, necessitating a mile-long walk back to the car.

Jay and I shared a mantra: If we were going to spend two hours digging through dirty things, we at least needed to make it post-worthy. When you’re done reading about my finds, go check out his — they should be posted in a day or two.


Transformers & So Forth!
Price: $2 for the whole pile!

SCORE. On a table otherwise topped with wicker baskets and nothing but wicker baskets, I spotted a small pile of Transformers, Gobots and other robot figures of a similar vein. I might’ve walked right past them, if not for the two vintage Insecticons.

I couldn’t believe the prices. “50 cents for the big ones, 25 cents for the small ones.” It’s a pretty historic occasion when you can buy an unbroken G1 Decepticon Kickback for 50 cents… in 2015.

I had a hard time comprehending what the seller construed as “big ones” and “small ones,” so I just offered two bucks for the whole pile. What a freakin’ deal.

Kickback (the grasshopper guy in the center) was the star of the lot, but the other Insecticon was still worth buying even in his shoddier condition. Also included were a couple of Gobots, and things that were close to Gobots, and then something that didn’t belong in that pile at all: Chrome Dome, a vintage TMNT figure.

Special shoutout to that generic slot machine robot. If you’re around my age, you definitely owned him… or at least one of his 50,000 similarly-styled cousins. Read More…

Fictional Food That Looks Friggin’ Good.

Tonight we’re gonna look at eight fictitious foods from movies and television that I really, really want to eat.

If I’m ever condemned, my last meal request will include three fish biscuits and a tall glass of whatever that shit was that they drank in Death Becomes Her.


#1: Luke’s Rations!
The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Not long after crash-landing on Dagobah, Luke Skywalker picks through some weird tackle box filled with alien space food. These ration kits were probably standard-issue for all Rebel troops, and one look at that delicious little smorgasbord goes a long way in explaining their loyalty to the cause.

We don’t get a great view of what’s inside, because a tight inspection might’ve betrayed the food’s earthly origins. From what I can see, it looks like pretzel rods, some high-end Pepperidge Farm snacks, Tic Tacs, sugar cubes, and those things you feed to donkeys at the zoo. I would gladly die for Rebel Alliance if it meant getting a compartmentalized boxful of vending machine crap. Read More…