Dinosaur Dracula!

Hot Chocolate Pop-Tarts.

Along with one or two returning holiday flavors, Kellogg’s has blessed us with all-new Frosted Marshmallow Hot Chocolate Pop-Tarts, thereby increasing their streak of Pop-Tarts flavors with extremely long names to an impressive 267.

Okay, so they’re not as “showy” as Kellogg’s previous offerings, like Sugar Cookie Pop-Tarts or Gingerbread Pop-Tarts. They’re not as weird-in-a-good way, nor colorful, nor do they come with any bizarre recipes on the side panel. All true, but these Pop-Tarts have it where it counts:

They taste like hot chocolate.

I took that photo of them in their “plain” state, but you kinda do need to toast them. Even if you prefer your Pop-Tarts with no caloric upgrades, the heat has a way of bringing out their scent. Believe me, this is a scent you WANT brought out.

Like, picture the most classic cup of hot chocolate you can imagine. Now picture it five feet tall. Whatever you think that would smell like is pretty close to how these smell. If it’s possible to get high from the aroma of blistery Pop-Tarts, brother, I am so there.

While the pastry and its frosting cover the “chocolate” base, a core of bright goo handles the “marshmallows.” It’s like NASA figured out how to freeze-dry hot chocolate, only not really at all like that.

I don’t keep score of these things, but I’ll go out on a limb and proclaim that there’s never been a tastier Pop-Tart. I’ll also proclaim that no other Pop-Tart has ever looked so much like an army of mites swarming over Mars.

The Rule of Triples means I get one more proclamation, but I’ll save that for when it’ll really count.

Christmas Crunch is back!

Before I gush about cereal, a quick note.

I’m on a gig right now, which started small but has grown into something unfathomably huge. In many ways, that is good, but it hasn’t left me with much time to write about nonsense on the Internet. I originally thought we’d be wrapping in December, and we still might, but it may turn out to be December 2018.

So, this will likely be a “lite” Christmas season on Dino Drac. We’ll see how it goes. If push comes to shove, I can just start wearing old Ben Cooper costumes to work until someone fires me.

PS: Yes, I heard about Hostess. We’ll talk about that another day. I already promised this one to Cap’n Crunch.

Christmas Crunch is back! It’s amazing that Quaker still hasn’t succumbed to social pressure and renamed it “Holiday Crunch,” and I’m certain that the only thing keeping them from it is the incredible alliteration in the original title. “Christmas Crunch.” Two c-words that can be spoken aloud as dramatic k-words. If you have a brain, you don’t mess with that.

This year’s box design isn’t a knockout, but it ain’t half bad, either.

Some people believe that “Christmas red” is an umbrella title for several different shades of red, BUT NO, “Christmas red” really refers to one specific type of red. And this box is THAT RED. A sweet spot between brick, vermillion and cranberry. Kudos, mon capitan. You did chicken right.

Love Cap’n Crunch’s casual “yup yup me again” pose at the top of the box, too.

Regrettably, I’m not as fond of the artist’s decision to draw the innards of Cap’n Crunch’s mouth. In this case, I’d prefer that Cap’n Crunch adhere to the standard cartoon rule of having nothing in there but a big black hole.

Ending on a positive, there’s also a gift box filled with nothing but cereal, addressed to someone named “Holiday Shapes.” Truly the start-point for a great novel. Don’t any of you NaNoWriMo fuckers take my idea.

Cap’n Crunch alleges that his Crunchberries come in “four shapes.” True, there may be four shapes, but you can only decipher two of them. The trees and the stars look as they should, but to call the other shapes “snowmen” and “winter hats” goes straight past “a stretch” and into “untruth punishable by law” territory.

But I forgive Cap’n Crunch, because I never got so many Crunchberries in a single box of cereal before. Good God, if judging by sheer mass, the Crunch-to-Crunchberries ratio is pretty close to 1:1. A Christmas miracle, right in my severely chipped cereal bowl. (more…)

Crazy Holiday Pringles!

Pringles. A brand of ultrathin potato crisps, sold in canisters that convert nicely into coin banks. All of you already knew this.

According to the ad slogan, “once you pop, the fun don’t stop.” Until recently, that was probably true. Even the worst Pringles flavor was still pretty good, and besides, they’re just so much fun to eat. Especially if you know the “Pringles Trick.”

What, you don’t? Allow me to explain.

The “Pringles Trick” is when you take a Pringle and wedge it lengthwise into your mouth, in front of your teeth. That’s Part 1, and at the end of Part 1, you should look like a mutant alien with a Pringle for a mouth.

Part 2 is even better. In Part 2, you take the middle finger on your right hand (I don’t know why it has to be your right hand, but it does), and use it to “flick” through the lip-trapped Pringle. The effect is similar in sensation to a karate champion smacking through a pile a wood. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but just wait until you try it. Prepare to clear your calendar.

Well, look at that. Barring an aside about the Common Merganser (that’s a duck), I could not have possibly gone more off-track. I apologize. It’s not easy to map out Pringles reviews. You kinda just dive in and see what happens. Sometimes, you hit your head on the ocean floor, and die on the spot. You are seeing exactly that unfold at this precise moment.

The point was that the old Pringles slogan no longer rings true. “Once you pop, the fun don’t stop.” Here, it’s quite the opposite. Virtually all of the fun is in the pre-pop era.

These are a disaster. They’re holiday edition Pringles, in “Cinnamon & Sugar” and “White Chocolate Peppermint” flavors.

If I’m not coming in loud and clear: CANDY CANE POTATO CHIPS.

(The red text indicates “caution,” not “Christmas.”)

But I must remind you that disasters can be beautiful. Consider volcanoes. Capable of killing thousands with a single blow, and yet, when they’re not killing people, we celebrate them as we do rainbows.

These Pringles are a beautiful disaster, and I commend Kellogg’s for taking such a risk. I know Kellogg’s likes to hide behind the curtain and act like Pringles exists as a totally distinct entity fronted by a man with a Rollie Fingers mustache, but this time, I think they deserve the direct credit. (more…)

Holiday Chips Ahoy Cookies!

I’d originally intended to bridge Dino Drac’s Halloween and Christmas seasons with some non-holiday “neutral” posts, and while I’ll still probably do that, this couldn’t wait.

Google tells me that Holiday Chips Ahoy aren’t new for 2012, but tonight was the first time I’d even seen them, and if I could paint a picture of that moment, you’d see me with a head-wide smile, rendered in acrylics.

Look, I’m trying to keep my Christmas madness in check. The explosion will come soon, but I know it isn’t time for it yet. Cookies like these are no help at all. I can’t look at this package and not get the immediate urge to cue up that one Paul McCartney song everybody but me hates.

The bag (Can we call this a bag?) is terrific, mixing a snowy white base with icy blue wintry things. You may take the “Holiday” moniker to mean that these are nondenominational Chips Ahoy cookies, but actually, they’re more like all-denominational Chips Ahoy cookies. Looking over the bag’s various slogans, we’re wished a merry Christmas, a happy Hanukkah and a happy Kwanzaa.

I have a feeling I may have misinterpreted the meaning of “denominational.” You’ll live.

The package’s decorative symbols go along with that theme. There’s Christmas’s tree, Hanukkah’s menorah, and Kwanzaa’s “unity” thing, which looks a bit like two paper clips. I dig it.

I should confess that I’ve flip-flopped on the “Christmas vs. Holiday” issue. After spending so many years screaming “CHRISTMAS” at audiences partly composed of folks who do not celebrate it, I’ve come to accept “Holiday” as a fair-for-all necessity. Nabisco was right to pander so broadly. (more…)

Pumpkin Spice Philadelphia Cream Cheese.

It’s 7 in the morning. I haven’t been to sleep yet. Instead, I’m writing about cream cheese, rushing to beat the sunrise, because it will crack my skin and turn me to ash.

I don’t have a choice. According to the news, I’m going to wake up underwater. If I want to tell the world about orange bagel goo, it’s now or November.

Nothing warms my heart more than…a lot of things, apparently. I start off too many paragraphs with some spin on that phrase. It’s time to mix things up.

I was most approving of the thing I spotted in Target’s grocery section, earlier this evening. It was a limited edition Kraft item, and it put an abrupt end to our planet’s four billion year Halloween cream cheese drought. If there was ever a time to know how to spell hallelujah. Ah, it’s in the spellchecker. Good.

Get a load of new PUMPKIN SPICE Philadelphia Cream Cheese, in a tub adorned with a pumpkin and three cinnamon sticks. For reasons known only to Kraft, they used an obviously phony pumpkin for their model. I don’t think the cinnamon sticks were real, either, because look at that one on the bottom. Real cinnamon sticks only unfurl like that like, 1 out of every 50,000 times. I doubt Kraft was that lucky.

I love this sudden boom with foods having “limited edition” runs. I mean, I get it, and it’s true, but it still sounds like permission to treat perishable food like collectibles. Thank God they didn’t go with the more casual “for a limited time only,” or I might feel weird about throwing four tubs of cream cheese into the back of my closet, where they’ll sit next to commemorative coins, baseball cards and other things that are similarly guaranteed to quadruple in value. (more…)

Rice Krispies Treats Pumpkin Kit!

Thanks again to everyone who ordered a Dino Drac Halloween Print. I was pleasantly surprised with how well they sold, and from all I’ve heard, people seem to dig them. Still have some left, so if you want in, this is the week!

In other, more pressing news, I made pumpkin-shaped Rice Krispies Treats.

This past month has been a bit of a blur, but if I remember things correctly, I found this at Walmart. The Rice Krispies Treats Pumpkin Kit gives you everything you need to create fourteen edible creatures, right down to a tiny tube of radioactive dye.

The box features Snap, Crackle and Pop in their Halloween costumes. This year, I’m giving the ribbon to Crackle. He looks great as a mummy, and though I doubt he intended this, his hair looks like an amoeba.

Pop comes in last. He’s dressed like a waiter at Applebee’s, and I’ve never forgiven them for the French Onion Soup Incident of ’08.

Don’t ask. (more…)

Halloween Lunchables YES!

I can’t believe it. It’s finally happened. It’s taken years, but it’s finally happened.

We got ‘em, folks. We got Halloween Lunchables.

You have NO IDEA how long I’ve waited for this.

This is my tenth year doing the Halloween Countdown, and during almost every prior edition, I looked for this. Exactly this. It just seemed like such an obvious thing to do, and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why Lunchables wasn’t doing it. It drove me CRAZY.

Every October, I dug through the Lunchables section of every supermarket I could find, hoping and praying for something orange. The cheese didn’t count, for it was always too yellow. Until now, every search was a bust. A horrible bust.

Still, I knew it would happen, someday. It had to. It was fate, it was destiny, and it was a chance to get extra mileage from those special Oreos with the spooky creme.

Oh yes — the wait is over. HALLOWEEN LUNCHABLES are here. Call your friends, call your relatives, call anyone who likes turkey in the shape and scale of Oxy pads.

I’m not sure if there are other versions of Halloween Lunchables out there. I could only find this one. The turkey & cheese “cracker stackers” one. You know, “the classic.” They made the right choice, but I still hold out hope that King Lunchable will do the same for one of his make-your-own pizza kits. BECAUSE I NEED TO ARRANGE THAT MOZZARELLA IN THE SHAPE OF A GHOST.

Good, I was right. Capped words make plain statements read like jokes.  I’M SITTING AT MY DESK.

The wrapper art is just fantastic. It’s full of Halloween symbols (even pitchforks that could be easily mistaken for candelabras), and it’s all presented in a choiiiiice shade of jade green. They want you to think “slime,” but nuh uh. I know jade when I see it. And I always love it when I do. (more…)